Diners become donors

Dine Out for Life event gives anyone an opportunity to fundraise with canapes.


Franki Hanke

One of Finnish Bistro’s quiche many options with mushrooms and swiss.

Franki Hanke, Senior Reporter

Thursday, April 26 marks the annual Dine out for Life night for the Twin Cities area to support The Aliveness Project, a community center for those living with HIV. Participating restaurants donate varying portions of profits, some up to 100% of the profits, to the cause when someone eats creating a great excuse to eat out and an easy way to give.


Last year the event raised $270,000 with 38,000 diners on the single night event; this year they hope to meet the same mark, but with 40,000 diners throughout Thursday.


For those looking to make the most impact, four locations of the 160 participating restaurants will be donating 100% of their profits: Eagle Bolt Bar, Finnish Bistro, LUSH Food Bar, and L’Etoile Du Nord Cafe. Finnish Bistro less than two miles from campus is the closest way to make the biggest impact for dinner (including alcohol purchases) with an all-day breakfast menu featuring items like a sweet tooth’s dream in Pulla French Toast or a curious diner’s choice a side of reindeer sausage can be added or found in their sausage and potato quiche.  


Beyond the appeal of their close location and lovely menu, Finnish Bistro is the only restaurant in club level who also donate tax.


“I was a social worker so I know that the end dollar matters,” Sandra Weise, owner of Finnish Bistro, said. “The money these places get really matters. I witnessed it for 15 years as a social worker. Once you’ve worked with someone who’s a recipient, you can never go back to not knowing them.”


Since the restaurant has been donating at the highest margin for seven years, they have many supporters of Dine out for Life who eat at the bistro every year, many of whom who dine out for all three of the day’s meals to maximize their donations.


“We have lots of people who come here every year! They always make sure to come here for dinner for that 100%,” Weise said. “It’s really fun. We have quite a cult.”


For anyone looking for a quick lunch option to still pack some punch, Pizza Luce’s St. Paul locating is participating with a 35% donation for lunch, dinner and alcohol, but you’ll have to dine-in. Pizza Luce’s is great choice for anyone concerned dietary restrictions with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free menu options.


Longfellow Grill and The Happy Gnome are nearby options too for a 20% donation though Longfellow is good for dinner and drinks while The Happy Gnome is participating for lunch too. If you find yourself at the Happy Gnome, try the menu’s risotto flavor.While the favorited curried cauliflower variety has moved on, their light-handed, smooth preparation is worth the sampling.


If a schedule has open space the opposite way and breakfast is the best choice: Cook Saint Paul is the only participating location in the highest donation category, though Swede Hollow Cafe and Augustine’s Bar and Bakery are participating too for lower donation percents.


Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; Aliveness Project and Dine out for Life annual participants hope that new diners will join them for Thursday’s event to dine out and do good.