Ada's Cafe seeks $3M to build commercial kitchen

Nonprofit hopes to provide more training, protect future viability

Facing increases in labor costs, rent and minimum wages, Ada's Cafe in Palo Alto is launching a $3 million capital campaign to build its own commercial kitchen on the Peninsula.

The founder of the nonprofit Mitchell Park Community Center cafe, which employs adults with developmental disabilities, sent a message to supporters seeking donations last week. The cafe's staff currently prepares food in a Mountain View commercial kitchen that was sold this summer to a new owner who raised the rent by 60 percent.

In an email to the Weekly, founder Kathleen Foley-Hughes said having their own kitchen is a "lofty goal" but one that "would give us some control over our future.

"If we had our own kitchen we could provide more training and opportunities for a larger number of people with disabilities or those trying to reenter the work force for various reasons," she wrote.

Foley-Hughes also made a plea for donations to the community this summer. She worried about the future of her business in light of increasingly slim margins due to the rent hike, a minimum wage increase, major equipment repairs and other expenses.

Since opening at the Mitchell Park Community Center in 2014, Ada's Cafe has employed 66 adults with developmental disabilities and 33 high schoolers, plus dozens of others as interns and volunteers. The cafe serves pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee, tea and other casual fare.

Ada's entirely funds its wage-related program, training and costs of goods from revenue from the cafe and catering. The nonprofit also operates a second cafe in San Francisco.

To make a donation, go to People who are interested in making "major gifts" should contact Foley-Hughes directly at to meet in person.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


7 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 26, 2018 at 11:21 pm

That's a lot of money for a kitchen. Just sayin'

5 people like this
Posted by Winter
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 27, 2018 at 8:01 am

Good idea. Ada’s Cafe at Mitchell Park Library and Community Center is such a valuable asset for all of us and it’s employees. It’s ongoing security is needed and this should do it.
Let’s all help make it happen!

14 people like this
Posted by A Banker
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 27, 2018 at 9:06 am

> That's a lot of money for a kitchen. Just sayin'

No kidding. An actual accounting of projected expenses should be provided in this fundraiser as there are restaurants who start off with far less working capital.

Why not just invest in a few food trucks?

2 people like this
Posted by Big Fan
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 27, 2018 at 10:50 pm

If I had the money to do this for you, I would. Ada's is such a wonderful, unique community treasure.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 7,824 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,198 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 34 comments | 939 views

Two degrees can do all that?
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 735 views

Tame, Maim and Claim the Wild Sea Vegetable
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 71 views


Register today!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More