Vagabond Kitchen Reaches Crowdfunding Goal with Community Support

People drive economy.

Relationships drive dreams.

I asked Dan Rugh, owner of CommonWealth Press in Pittsburgh, to give a brief comment on why CommonWealth decided to get involved with the Vagabond Kitchen’s ongoing Indigogo campaign designed to improve the front of the house dining experience.

“Matt [Welsch] and Mark [Bogacki], who is one of our artists, have been friends forever, so it’s one of those things where friends start businesses and support each other throughout because we are all in this together. We share all of our successes, troubles, all that … is that corny?”

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As one of the donation perks, Bogacki designed a t-shirt that pays homage to the now infamous payphone graffiti that called the Vagabond Kitchen “Commie Food” while strongly asserting that the “Vagabond Sucks”. To help out, Rugh offered the shirts at wholesale cost so that the campaign would be able to keep more of the money.”

“I really appreciate what Dan and Mark did for us. When I did my first campaign for the Vagabond Chef, almost half of my donations went toward the perks given out at the various donation levels. It’s really great to give people something to thank them, but when people like Dan at CommonWealth go the extra mile to help mitigate that added cost, it’s like giving a huge donation of their own.”

The campaign began on December 31 and is scheduled to run until February 1st. The goal was to raise $1,000 to improve the quality of dining experience at the restaurant by, among other things, purchasing new plates and glasses that matched the overall feeling of quality that Matt and Katie Welsch, owners at The Kitchen, have always strived to give to their patrons.

On January 18, thirteen days before the end of the campaign, the Vagabond Kitchen reached it goal, and now, a week from its end date, it is 121% funded at $1,250.

“Once again, I am just so overwhelmed at the support we’ve received. Over the last seven months we’ve heard our fair share of weird rumors. My favorite was that we are successful because we have secret wealthy investors that are funding us. While I sometimes wish that was the case, the truth is so much cooler. Any success we have had is because of the staff that pours themselves into providing a quality product and the Wheeling community that always shows up to support us in initiatives just like this.”

Matt Welsch went on to explain that it isn’t just local people that have reached out to lend a helping hand.

“One of the coolest things was that a guy, Will [Goodwin], that I worked with in Chicago at Beans & Bagels chipped in $250. When I hit him up to thank him and ask him why, he said that, ‘… food as good as yours deserves an equally quality presentation.’ That really hit me. Here is a guy I haven’t seen in years, who will get absolutely nothing from this, giving up hard-earned-money just to advance the dreams of an old friend.”

Goodwin, after Welsch left Chicago, bought his own Beans & Bagels store on Montrose, and can be found on their Facebook page. If you’re ever in Chicago, please take the time to stop in and say, “Hi” and enjoy some of their delicious food in support.

Welsch wants to stress that just because they have reached their goal, there is still time to help make the restaurant better.

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“Yes, we have the basics of what we wanted to do, but this is just the basics. If we are able to raise more, we can get some added specialty plates that will add an even better experience. There are things we want to do to the server station and the entrance way that would be feasible if we could raise more. I just want people to know that 100% of what we bring in goes directly to improving the dining experience for the customers as well as to pursuing things like our alcohol license. These are changes they will see and enjoy. In a lot of ways, by doing these kinds of things, the Vagabond Kitchen really is a product of the community around it.”

The community coming together to help a local business that pours back into the community and its customers? Maybe the payphone graffiti was closer than we thought. But still, what exactly is “Commie Food”?

Relationships drive dreams.

Yeah, it’s corny, but it’s also true. Most of the good things in life, when talked about, sound a little corny.

If you’d like to the contribute to the campaign, you can do so here. It really does make a difference.