There’s more on the menu than tasty lunch dishes and homemade treats at the new Black Cat Cafe in Devon. Scattered throughout the yellow-and-lavender restaurant are pictures of cats in need of homes.
The one-of-a-kind spot is run by PALS, a Main Line pet-rescue group, and is serving up food along with a feel-good mission: to find homes for unwanted cats.
Earlier this year, PALS bought the former tea shop at 42 Berkeley Rd. intending to rent it out, but decided to try its own paw, er, hand at running a cafe.
“It seems to be working out great,” said Jeanne Greenfield, president of PALS, who was helping in the dining room during a recent lunch rush.
The cafe is staffed almost entirely by volunteers – only the chef is paid – and every dime of its profit goes to the organization, which runs two shelters. In addition to lunch, there are kitty-related gifts and a computer that allows customers to search for adoptable cats, about 40 to 50 of which have found homes since the restaurant opened in mid-April, said Greenfield.
Outside the cafe on Saturdays, another rescue organization brings dogs for adoption.
Sara Barnett, who works at the Humane Society of the United States, said she has never heard of a restaurant quite like the Black Cat. More common are places like the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington, Va., which donates a portion of its proceeds to a rescue group founded by the owner.
“It’s great,” Barnett said of the Black Cat. “What I’ve seen is, people really like visiting places knowing a portion supports something they care about. They’re going out to eat anyway, so they go out and benefit animals. It’s a huge tie-in and a way to spread the word.”
The word is spreading fast about the Black Cat, whose 20 seats are usually filled during lunch. Greenfield said the shop planned to start serving light breakfasts prepared by her college-age daughter, a vegan, who might try to sneak in a few animal-free recipes.
After hearing about the cafe on the radio, Mary Anne Schofield of Radnor brought a friend, Mary Lane, who was visiting from Greensboro, N.C., for lunch.
Both are, as expected, animal lovers. In fact, Lane’s 14-year-old Chihuahua, Chi-Chi, was named Hero Pet of the Year by Reader’s Digest and appeared on Today with his owner.
“I call him Chi-Chi the Wonder Dog,” Schofield joked.