From humble beginnings in a room at Greenbelt’s Community Center in 1995, the New Deal Cafe has grown into a premiere music and art venue, serving delicious food along with craft beer and wine.
Hundreds of other music halls and restaurants have come and gone in the past 25 years, but the New Deal has survived and thrived! And the Cafe hasn’t lost the qualities that made it unique from day one: a friendly, laid-back atmosphere; a commitment to community; and a cooperative, not-for-profit ethos.
We invite you to join us in celebrating our Silver Anniversary, and to support us as we move into the future! As a volunteer-run, not-for-profit cooperative, we rely on people like you to stay in business. Please click on this link if you’d like to become a member, volunteer and/or make a donation.
donatE to our 25th Anniversary Fund drive!
To celebrate our anniversary, we’re trying to raise $250,000. This money will go to updating the Cafe’s decor, purchasing and repairing equipment, paying down our debt, setting up an endowment, and much more. Please help us survive and thrive for another 25 years–give generously!
For a donation of $100 or more, we’ll give you one of these all-cotton, limited edition 25th Anniversary T-shirts!
A donation of $50 or more gets you one of these attractive, handy 25th anniversary beer glasses or coffee mugs!
For a donation of $10 or more, we’ll give you a colorful New Deal Cafe bumpersticker!
For years, Greenbelters caught up with their neighbors in places like the grocery store and the gasoline station–less than ideal locations for chatting and relaxing. Greenbelt needed a coffee house.
Discussions began about opening a cafe. Early on, the venture was dubbed the New Deal Cafe because the Works Project Administration, a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression-era New Deal, built the city of Greenbelt.
This being a town with cooperative housing and several co-op businesses, the Cafe was planned in the same tradition. It would be staffed with volunteers and directed by a member-elected board.
To see if the idea had community support, an open house was held on November 5, 1994. Over 600 people showed up to support the project.
A group of hard-working volunteers brought the idea to fruition, and on December 30, 1995, the cafe opened in Greenbelt’s Community Center. Initially open just on Friday and Saturday nights, the Cafe offered light meals, desserts, coffee and free live music.
In October 1999, a storefront space came available in Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center. The board decided the time had come to make the New Deal a full-time venture. In April 2000, the dream was realized with the opening of the “new” New Deal Cafe in our current front room.
In the years that followed, the Cafe expanded into the back room when the tenant of that space left. Our music program has expanded to include top talent in a wide variety of styles, and we’ve been recognized as one of the top 35 folk music venues in the country, as well as one of the best places the D.C. region to hear live music.
We’ve faced our share of challenges and changes, but thanks to the hard work of our staff, managers, board of directors and volunteers, we’re still alive and kicking after 25 years!
We’ve got lots of fun events planned throughout 2020 to celebrate our 25th anniversary: from drink and meal specials, to drum circles, to art and music shows, to an outdoor festival and much more! Please check out our calendar regularly–we’ll be updating it throughout the year. Bring the family and join in the fun!
We’ve come a long way in 25 years, but there’s much more we’d like to do. We’re constantly striving to improve our music and art offerings, along with our food and drink selections, and looking for other ways to grow our business.
In addition, some parts of our historic building are decades old and badly in need of upgrades or replacement: the floors and ceiling, for example. We’d also like to replace the beautiful picture window on the front that was bricked up years ago. We’d also like to explore environmentally focused projects, such as potentially installing solar panels and/or a green roof. And, although it’s not glamorous, kitchen, office and sound equipment need to be repaired and replaced regularly.
We also have a substantial debt that we need to pay off. And we’d like to set up an endowment to ensure the Cafe survives and thrives for the next 25 years, perhaps in a building that we own, instead of rent!
All of these projects require money and volunteers. Read on to learn how you can help!
As we’ve mentioned, the New Deal is a member-owned, volunteer-run, not-for-profit cooperative. That means we all need to pitch in if we want to keep our one-of-a-kind venue alive and kicking! As part of our 25th anniversary efforts, we want to expand our member base and our financial resources. Our goals are to add at least 250 new members, and raise $250,000 in 2020.
If you’re already a member, tell your friends, co-workers and family members about us and encourage them to join! If you’re not a member, what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to join!
We urge you to make some kind of contribution to Cafe–whether it’s volunteering as a bartender or sound engineer, or helping out with marketing or accounting, or making a cash donation. Even a small contribution makes a difference–especially if you can convince family members and friends to match it.
Remember, it’s your Cafe–it won’t survive for another 25 years without your help!