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'Robin Hood' restaurant for homeless opens in Madrid

Reporter: Dan Williams 丨 CCTV.com

12-25-2016 12:49 BJT

According to legend, Robin Hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor. The story dates back centuries, but in Spain, the idea has been given an impressive warm-up.

Welcome to the Robin Hood restaurant, one of Madrid’s latest hot spots for eating out.

By day, it’s difficult to get a table here where they serve traditional Spanish dishes. It’s busy at night, too, but that’s because evening guests don’t need to pay. It’s on the house.

The restaurant uses the money made during the day from paying customers to provide meals for Madrid’s homeless in the evening. It’s part of an initiative by the local Catholic Church.

“The idea comes from the story of Robin Hood who used to rob from the rich to give to the poor. We don’t do that here, but the idea is that those who have give to those who don’t,” said Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, Robin Hood Restaurant.

This project is not just about providing a meal. The restaurant aims to give those that dine here a sense of dignity. A dining experience far removed from the normal soup kitchen fare.

Evening guests are treated the same as day guests with waiters and linen table cloths.

This is Luis. He once owned a truck company. But after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, his life fell apart.

“The Robin Hood restaurant is amazing, absolutely amazing. A restaurant during the day that feeds poor people at night. I think it’s incredible. Coming here is like coming home. This is my home,” said Luis, the patron.

The key for long-term success is to continue attracting paying customers during the day. With thousands of restaurants to choose from in Madrid, it means the pressure is on to maintain the quality of the service. But there is always the feel-good factor.

“Knowing that in the evening there will be some people who can have a warm dish because you and a group of friends were having a fantastic time having lunch for the same price you would pay in another restaurant makes it extra special,” said Almarina Rodriguez, the patron.

Plans are already in place to open more restaurants. Robin Hood’s story has become the stuff of legend. That spirit more than lives on here.

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