It’s not often that good deeds and good eats collide. Think about it: when was the last time you went out to dinner in Paris and accomplished anything other than making yourself ridiculously happy? Come on people, this selfishness has got to stop!
Fortunately, La Rotisserie Sainte Marthe cooperative is here to help Parisians eat well and contribute to a worthy cause at the same time. Rue Sainte-Marthe, with its vibrant, colorful restaurants, is a cobblestone road that seems to have flown from Old San Juan and landed in the 10th arrondissement. La Rotisserie is the standout eatery on the block for its dedication to supporting charitable causes, be they hungry locals or global relief funds.
I visited La Rotisserie for dinner and was able to snag a seat before the rush. The food comes out in waves and the neighborhood regulars soon packed the house, arriving moments before the first plates hit the table. The restaurant has a summer camp feel: patrons pile onto wooden benches, squeezing into the limited space next to friend and stranger alike, pouring their drinks into green plastic cups while waiting to be served.
Also like summer camp, your options are few (without the PB&Js as a backup): you’re having what they’re making. Lunch and dinner feature a few different selections, from titanic pasta salads to Mexican burrito platters. Sweet crepe deserts and wine glasses also abound. And you can’t beat the price: 4 or 5 Euros for lunch, no more than 10 Euros for dinner and wine goes for a Euro a glass. You’d be hard pressed to eat at home for that cheap! I had chicken in creamy mushroom sauce. Despite the canteen-style presentation, the dish was personal, delicate, like it was made just for me – exactly how comfort food should taste.
Besides price, the main difference between an afternoon and evening affair is where your money will end up: at dinner, assorted associations take over the space and all the proceeds from that evening go to their cause. These causes range from supporting educational initiatives in Africa and combating sexual and ethnic discrimination in Afghanistan to publishing French literary magazines, among hundreds of others. This concept gives purpose to every bite at La Rotisserie and creates camaraderie among the casual diners. More information on these causes can be found on the website, lanouvellerotisserie.org. Lunch is run by the cooperative itself, and the profits here go towards keeping the restaurant alive.
Not exactly your trendy hotspot, la Rotisserie is more about substance than style – and that’s just fine by us. And while the diners have their sights set on fixing the world, the people of La Rotisserie don’t forget about their own community. Several servings were given away to those who couldn’t afford it, which goes to show this place does actually put its money where the hungry mouths are.
Faced with new building owners looking to add a more profitable storefront to the building, the restaurant is currently facing eviction. La Rotisserie is a rare breed of restaurant, for Paris and the world at large: a cooperative effort to make good food, at a good price, and to do something good with the profits. To support this endeavor, not to mention the charity of your choice, give this place a shot.
4, rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010
Métro: Colonel Fabien, Belleville, Goncourt
Open: Mon – Fri for lunch and dinner, Sat – Sun for dinner
- Looking for other good eats in the 10th? Girl’s Guide to Paris dishes on Philou and we can’t wait to check it out.
- Also nearby, le Comptoir General.