| Michaela Nesvarova | Photo by: Jellien Tigelaar

Happietaria: How does it taste to eat for charity?

At first glance, Happietaria in the center of Enschede doesn't look any different from other restaurants. Tables are set, lights are dimmed, cooks are busy in the open kitchen and waiters run around with orders. Yet, there is one major difference: the more you eat, the more money goes to charity supporting children in Sudan. How does it taste to eat for a good cause?

Happietaria is a pop-up restaurant that is fully run by volunteers, many of which are UT students. The initiative is active in several cities across the Netherlands and the one in Enschede has its doors open from the 19th of May until the 16th of June, 2017. U-Today visited the restaurant yesterday and here is what we thought.

Menu and food

Let's be honest. Happietaria isn't the place where you will go primarily for the food, but mainly because it gives you the chance to not only enjoy a night out, but to also support a charitable organization. That being said, the menu offers enough options and the food was definitely enjoyable.

Although we could have used a slightly bigger portion of the starter - bread with various sauces -, we had no complaints regarding the main courses. Granted, the 'Spring stew' tasted more like a decent home-cooked meal that a restaurant dish, but the burger was quite delicious and could easily be served in a professionally run restaurant. 

For dessert, we tried an apple pie and a 'Toet', a creamy dessert with Greek yoghurt, mascarpone, fruits and a biscuit base. Once again, no major complaints there. The served fruits were still rather frozen, but since the restaurant works mainly with donated ingredients and its dishes are mostly prepared by amateur cooks, this little flaw is easy to forgive. 

Unique touches

Luckily, Happietaria goes further than just serving food and then sending your payments to the charity. Once you are seated, you can simply give your order to the waitress, just like anywhere else. However, once you have ordered, you can access a special 'Appietaria app' on your phone. In this app, it's displayed how much you have spent, and therefore how much you can donate to a charity.

What's more, you can pick precisely what your money should go to. For example, we could choose to invest in a classroom, a toilet or a desk for children in Sudan. Once you place your donation, your choice is immediately displayed on the big screen in the restaurant, where you can also see what other tables decided to sponsor. Naturally, the more you eat and drink, the more money you have to invest. As soon as you have more money to spend, you get a notification on your phone. This interesting gamification aspect gives people a unique incentive to order more.

Service and venue

Service is fast and friendly; you could not guess that the local waiters and waitresses only get a basic training and have no previous experience in restaurant business. Everything is running smoothly, all your food and drinks come in a timely manner (or at least they did for us). The pop-up restaurant was also lucky enough to find a venue that was already dedicated to food and dining, and therefore gives it a properly professional look.

Overall, you might find better restaurants in Twente, but Happietaria - with its unique purpose and atmosphere - is surely worth a try.