Spark is an incredibly adorable community cafe in downtown Versailles, KY and quickly becoming one of my new favorite places to eat.
What is a community cafe, you ask? These are local eateries, usually working for the goal of One World Everybody Eats. These are nonprofit cafes where everyone can come in and eat, then decide what to pay when they're done. This allows those who can't afford to eat to be able to live and eat with dignity. The cafes usually source most or all food from local farmers and the surrounding communities to help support the local economy. Many of them have buffet components that allow patrons to decide what and how much they eat, creating a healthy environment with less food waste.
Spark embodies all of that stated above. They pride themselves in being "a farm-to-table, pay-what-you-can eatery", and their staple statement is "food with dignity". There is a suggested price on all food, but if you can't make that then it's no problem. "If your pockets are full, pay-it-forward. If your pockets are light, pay what you can. If your pockets are empty, volunteer in exchange for your meal." All tips and donations go to helping provide cards for food to those who can't afford them, and the cafe encourages the use by all people to allow discretion and dignity in payments.
Spark sources their food from multiple local farmers to promote supporting the local community. The list of the farms and their stories is featured on the Spark site here. Because of the local sourcing, Spark cooks to the seasons. This provides an incredible variety of food every time you visit. In addition to locally sourcing, they compost all they can to minimize waste on the back end.
The food at Spark is nothing short of the most incredible food ever. When I first visited the cafe, I got to try one of their cheesecake cups and honestly have been craving it ever since. The last time I visited, I ate from their amazing brunch buffet. Waffles made in front of you, meat choices, local vegetables, potato hash, biscuits and gravy, really everything you could ever want. I'm excited to head back in soon and check out their dinner menu that is currently featuring house salads, pizzas, soups and sandwiches with local bread, meat entrees, and locally sourced sides.
The Giving back:
As much as I love food, this is really my favorite part of Spark. Outside of the cooks, Spark is completely volunteer run. This allows them to really put maximum money and time into helping the food insecure. And honestly, the volunteering is super fun! I volunteered with a couple other local bloggers (bluegrassblog, kentuckygirlramblings) and we spent our afternoons interacting with the locals and helping them as best we could. Serving sounds like an intimidating job, but everyone understands that you're a volunteer and is incredibly kind. It was incredible to see the inner workings of the cafe and get to help keep them running. I honestly woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, but left feeling 1000% better just from the wonderful time I had there. And of course, it never hurts that you can grab a bite when you're done volunteering! If nothing else here motivates you to check out the opportunity, let the free food draw you in!
All in all, Spark is an incredible community resource that we here in Central Kentucky are so lucky to have. They are truly doing some amazing work over there. If my raving has convinced you to check out the food, or maybe even help out around the place, be sure to check out their website, Facebook, and Instagram!
Last weekend I got to spend the day checking out all Versailles, Kentucky has to offer and WOW was I blown away (s/o to the wonderful Bluegrass Blog for organizing this event - she's incredible y'all). Horses, wine, and so. much. food. I'm not gonna lie y'all, I was in Heaven. You don't expect it from such a small town like Versailles, but I spent an entire day there and still didn't see everything I wanted to see. Versailles, Kentucky has definitely earned the title of 'Best Small Town in Kentucky' in my heart!
We started off out day at Sun Valley Farms, where we got to tour the barns and learn alll about the horse business. This family owned Thoroughbred farm nursery takes care of many racehorses in their early years before they go up for auction. They have the Samuel Pepper homestead on their property (they actually live in it - how freakin' cool right?!) and are (literally) a minute away from Woodford Reserve.
My favorite part of the tour was very obviously getting to see all the beautiful horses living on the farm! Over 200 stakes horses have once resided on Sun Valley Farm, so I like to think that one of the ones we saw is going to be a winner sooner or later.😍
At the end of our tour, we stopped by the James Pepper house for lunch and wine from Sweet Lilu's Catering and Equus Run Vineyards, with the most beautiful table settings from Bellaire Blooms.
Guys this food from Sweet Lilu's was actually some of the best food I've ever had. I'm a caprese obsessive so those caprese skewers were my favorite thing on. Earth. And I'm not sure who thought to put candied bacon on an open-faced BLT, but they deserve a medal. I really thought I died and went to heaven with all this food y'all.
And you can't have pretty food without a pretty table setting. These flowers from Bellaire Blooms really set the stage for the most gorgeous lunch ever.
We paired some of the best Kentucky wine with our lunch and it was to. die. for. I'm planning to head over and buy some of this stuff ASAP because it was quite honestly some of the best wine I've had in awhile. See you soon Equus Run!👋🏻
After lunch on the farm, we transitioned to downtown Versailles to take in all the sights there. Our first stop was Spark Community Cafe and WOW this place is my new favorite restaurant if not solely for the concept. Spark's motto is "food with dignity", and I've never heard anything better. They're a pay-what-you-can restaurant that donates profits and tips as gift cards to local shelters and allows volunteering to pay as well. "If your pockets are full, pay it forward. If your pockets are light, pay what you can. If your pockets are empty, volunteer your time."
But don't worry, Spark isn't only great for their concept. The food is just as awesome! They're a farm-to-table restaurant that has some of the BEST food y'all. Like that cheesecake was absolutely mouthwatering.
After cheesecake at Spark, we checked out the gelato at Spotz Gelato (yes I did have a sugar crash after all this fun LOL). Spotz is honestly one of my favorite dessert spots. Between their two locations (Versaillles and Georgetown) and their truck, I eat A LOT of Spotz. I absolutely love their signature pink cones, but I've got my eye on the sundae board next visit so I can try allll the flavors.
Conveniently, right across the hall from Spotz is Mrs. Roger's Popcorn & Sweet Shoppe! While they have a TON of sweets in their store, can you tell what my favorite was? Their white chocolate popcorn was b o m b. I love the salty with the hint of sweet. Chocolate popcorn is one of my secret addictions TBH.
One door over from Spotz and Mrs. Roger's is Rolling Oven's Taproom and it is a complete hidden gem. I've been to Versailles so many times and had NO idea this place was here. It's so open and spacious, plus pizza + beer is always the perfect combo. I love that their patio has trees around it, allowing it to be a more private experience while still being just as open and bright. They have a great selection of beer and I will definitely be back soon to try more of their pizza.
Our last stop in downtown Versailles was The Amsden. As most of y'all probably already know, I love the Amsden with my whole heart. This place is my #1 favorite coffee shop and the attached mercantile is my life. Their drinks are amazing and I live for their Girl Scout Cookie and Hot Chocolate weeks. Their seasonal teas are always my favorite (I'm currently hooked on their Tropical Passion Tea Lemonade) and I've never seen a cuter mug than the ones they have there. I recently bought one of their travel mugs because 1. Good for the enviroment and 2. You get a free drink when you buy it + 20% off any drink you bring it back for. What. A. Deal.
All in all, my weekend trip to Versailles was absolutely incredible and I plan to take many more there in the future! And if you didn't get enough from my lengthy post, be sure to check out other instagram/blog posts by everyone else who attended the event!
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