Potager: Organic Eating, A Better Choice
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 03, 2012, December 03, 2012

Walking into Potager's Café, you immediately get the sense that you are not at a traditional restaurant. The utensils, glasses and furniture are mismatched. The menu changes every week and you pay a "suggested' price for your food. The menu is as eclectic as the restaurant itself. Roasted sweet potato soup, BBQ pulled pork and creamy mushroom grits and candied ginger cake are some of the delectable items on a recent menu.

Potager's Café, owned by Cynthia Chippindale, is located at 315 S. Mesquite Street. She is confident in her business model, in which customers are asked to pay as much as much as they think the food deserves, or based on how much they ate. Cynthia offers suggested prices, but it took some time for the public to embrace the concept.

"People come in and they try to rip me off, I have no qualms about marching into the parking lot and saying "You left me two dollars and you had seconds of just about everything? You obviously don't think my food is worth anything so why don't you go where you think it is.'

The organic food movement continues to grow here in the United States, having eclipsed the $25 billion mark in 2009. Cynthia said she started Potager's in 2008 because she wanted a place with an all-organic menu. Every ingredient she uses is purchased from local farmers who do not use chemicals or hormones in their food. That is why the menu changes regularly-because Cynthia cooks what's in season.

"I had been involved in the organic movement here in Arlington for a long time. I was one of the people who ran The Herb Society and I'm a member of the Texas Organic Farmer and Grocers Association, so I had all the people already that I needed to know. I had "street cred,' so I opened the restaurant.'

Four years later, Cynthia believes her customers understand her mission, which is to educate people on portion control and not wasting food. The Arlington business owner says some 48 million people in the U.S. go to bed hungry each night, while the majority of the others eat huge portions of processed food, or what she calls "garbage food.' The organic need became so apparent to this business owner that she decided to Potager's Other Stuff in January 2012, located just across the street from the café.

"People were always asking me where I got my ingredients from, and instead of sending them to all the people I buy stuff from, I thought, why not open a shop and then you'll have one place where you can get it.'

Not only does the shop sell produce and meats from local farmers and ranchers, it offers great Texas wines and beers, arts & crafts from local artists, clothing made with organic materials, even recycled aluminum foil.

Cynthia says becoming an organic eater can be a smooth transition. "People can eat a healthy diet if they just know how to cook and they shop properly,' she explained. "Don't go out and buy yourself a beef tenderloin. It's not going to have any taste anyway. Come ask me how to cook and I'll tell you. It doesn't have to be expensive.'

For a look at the menu and for store hours, please visit www.potagercafe.com.

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