In Melbourne, the latest wave of buzzy restaurants and bars share a common menu item: virtue.
One more reason to love Australia’s second city: a string of new establishments that are on a mission to pay it forward—without force-feeding the matter. Boho-chic hangout Shebeen serves up a globe-trotting menu of craft beers and cocktails, then hands 100 percent of its profits to charities in developing countries. Order a Sri Lanka–made Sinha Stout, for example, to support Room to Read, which helps develop children’s literacy skills throughout Asia and Africa.
In Fitzroy, Charcoal Lane (pictured; $$) puts a modern spin on authentic dishes using local ingredients—wallaby with warrigal spinach; free-range chicken in a wattle-seed-and-macadamia-nut crust—while doubling as a hospitality training and apprenticeship program for at-risk teens.
The city’s coffee-mad café culture is getting in on the giving, too. Kinfolk, a cozy den in the Central Business District, is run entirely by volunteers and donates to efforts including rebuilding classrooms in Rwanda and protecting children’s rights in Ghana. (They also make a mean sausage roll.)
Finally, Streat ($$), a café-and-coffee-stand collective, uses regional produce in its world-cuisine mash-ups—Caribbean jerk chicken and scorched pineapple; pork-belly sliders with kimchi and fried quail’s egg—while providing valuable cooking and serving experience to homeless youngsters.
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150