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Goodles Community Partner: JBJ SOUL KITCHEN


In New Jersey lies a beacon of hope and community: JBJ Soul Kitchen. As a program of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, founded by rock legend Jon Bon Jovi himself, JBJ Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant, founded by his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi. This unique restaurant isn't just about serving delicious meals; it's about nourishing the soul and fostering a sense of belonging for all who walk through its doors.

Chef Rob Nitti

JBJ Soul Kitchen Chef Rob Nitti

The Genesis of JBJ Soul Kitchen

The story of JBJ Soul Kitchen traces back to 2011 when Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, envisioned a place where people from all walks of life could enjoy a meal regardless of their ability to pay. Their aim was to address the issue of food insecurity in a dignified and respectful manner. Thus, JBJ Soul Kitchen was born, with its first location opening its doors in Red Bank, New Jersey.

A Recipe for Community

What sets JBJ Soul Kitchen apart is its innovative approach to dining. Instead of fixed prices, patrons are encouraged to contribute a suggested donation, and they are also asked to Pay It Forward to cover the cost of those who are unable to pay for a meal, but volunteer instead. JBJ Soul Kitchen believes that everyone deserves access to delicious, healthy food in a beautiful setting, served respectfully and with dignity. Their goal is to bring the community together. “When we break bread, we break down the barriers between us,” said Dorothea Bongiovi. They truly foster a sense of community as diners from diverse backgrounds come together around a shared table.

“When we break bread, we break down the barriers between us,” - Dorothea Bongiovi

Nicole JBJSK

Nicole speaking to customers at JBJ Soul Kitchen

Rutgers University Partnership

The connection between JBJ Soul Kitchen and Rutgers University-Newark runs deep. Not only does the restaurant serve as a gathering place for students, faculty, and locals alike, but it also benefits from a strong partnership with the university. 

Goodles is proud to have been part of the initiative at Rutgers University-Newark in tackling student food insecurity by having an on campus opportunity to provide food including Goodles for students at pantryRUN, the on-campus food pantry established to help students who are having difficulty affording or accessing enough nutritious food. 

JBJ Soul Seasoning 

In 2016, JBJ Soul Kitchen launched its Original JBJ Soul Seasoning, a flavorful and unique seasoning blend that pairs perfectly with any dish! The latest additions to the JBJ Soul Seasoning line, Cilantro Lime and Nashville, were announced in 2023. All are available for purchase on site at JBJ Soul Kitchen or online. Every purchase of JBJ Soul Seasoning contributes to the mission of JBJ Soul Kitchen.

Dorothea Bongiovi

While Jon Bon Jovi's name may be synonymous with rock 'n' roll, it's his wife, Dorothea, who has been a driving force behind the philanthropic efforts of JBJ Soul Kitchen. I had the honor of speaking with her and am inspired by her compassion and dedication to serving others. Bongiovi says, “Dignity and removing stigma” around food insecurities has been a primary goal. Effecting change by empowering paying customers to feel good as they pay it forward have helped transform JBJ Soul Kitchen into a symbol of hope and solidarity.

Lou Volunteers

Volunteers at JBJ Soul Kitchen

Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul 

Since its inception, JBJ Soul Kitchen has made a significant impact on the community, serving over 187,000 meals, and counting, to those in-need and providing a welcoming space for all. Buoyed by its success, the restaurant has expanded to include additional locations, including one in Toms River, New Jersey and on the campus of New Jersey City University. Each new outpost brings with it the promise of nourishment, compassion, and connection. 

In 2023, JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank and Toms River have served the most meals in one year to-date. Out of those meals, 64% were served to those who were in-need. As the in-need population continues to grow, your support is more important than ever. In a world marked by division and inequality, JBJ Soul Kitchen stands as a beacon of hope and unity. Through its innovative approach to dining and unwavering commitment to serving others, it has become more than just a restaurant—it's a testament to the power of community and compassion. And with partners like Rutgers University-Newark and the tireless efforts of Dorothea Bongiovi, its legacy of love and generosity will continue to thrive for years to come.

Become Involved!

If you find yourself in New Jersey, please visit the restaurants and enjoy the experience. Become an Instagram or Facebook follower and think about donating to this beautiful program:

Donate Today

Visit Us

JBJ Soul Seasoning

Red Bank Facebook

Toms River Facebook

Rutgers University-Newark Instagram 

New Jersey City University Instagram

Interior JBJSK

Seating area at JBJ Soul Kitchen


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