Restaurant in Italy Lets Diners Pay With Fruits and Vegetables

Sure, money doesn't grow on trees -- but who needs money when you can pay with things that really do?

Later on this month, a new restaurant called "L'è maiala" is scheduled to open in Florence, Italy, based on the simple premise that money isn't everything, nor is it even required. That's why, at the end of a meal, customers will be given the option to pay their bill the conventional way (ie. cash, credit card), or with fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, or other barter-able item.

And in turn, the traditional Tuscan dishes served at L'è maiala will feature the food they get, and others that have been grown locally.

In deciding to accept fresh greenery in place of cold hard cash, owner Donella Faggioli hopes to open up her restaurant to those who might not otherwise be able to afford a meal out, especially in these difficult times.

"With the crisis that we're all living through today, we've met those, who in times of hardship, think they cannot afford dinner -- but we counter that by offer the option to pay in good instead of real money," Faggioli tells Corriere Fiorentino.

While bartering meals for fruits and vegetables to those who can't afford to pay in cash might not seem like the best way to get rich in the restaurant business, it will no doubt reap its own rewards in customer loyalty and through word of mouth -- after all, Faggioli says she's modeled L'è maiala not after the staunchness of a high-end eater, but for the homeyness of her grandmother's kitchen.

If there's a bright-side to these tough economic times, it just might be in the reaffirmation that the best things in life often don't cost a thing.

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