Café Reconcile, A Soul-filled dining experience
While in New Orleans, Gadabout Gals Kelly and Tiffany (and their guys) veered off the beaten path to experience Cafe Reconcile, a destination lunch spot focusing on the kind of "soul food" New Orleans is known for. The lunch definitely fulfilled our expectations!
Their mission filled our souls.
Café Reconcile's mission is to serve opportunity youth with hope through job training and life skills. Reading about this wonderful organization tugged at our heartstrings. We knew a Gadabout Gals Goodwill excursion was in order!
The restaurant's atmosphere is bright and cheery with excellent customer service. We had the impression that the staff genuinely wanted to be there. In fact, our waitress is an alumni who coaches and mentors new students. The portraits on the walls tell their story of transformation.
Each of us sampled a different menu item. Jeff tried the Jerk Chicken. Jason went with a Shrimp Po-boy. Kelly had her first Cat Fish dinner. Tiffany went with the Spinach and Bacon Salad. (Always one in the group. LOL). We all agreed... delish!
After lunch Kelly and Tiffany had the pleasure of meeting Josh Fertitta, Director of Development. Josh gave us a personal tour of the five-story home to the café, event center, classrooms and staff offices.
Café Reconcile is located in the central city area of New Orleans. Once known for high crime crime rate and the highest murder rate in the country, central city is now experiencing revitalization. It's no coincidence that Café Reconcile is an anchor giving hope to the community it serves.
The Program offers students eight weeks of training in life skills and the various positions in the café. Josh shared one example of a life skill: learning when it is appropriate to call off of work. Rain is not a good one. In Tiffany's opinion, that one life skill has the potential to rank their students far above the current work force. A full time staff monitors the progress of each student, placing them in positions that match their individual personality and gifts. Social Workers are on staff to help them navigate personal obstacles to success (outside enfluences, transportation, child care, etc.). The care each student gets in the eight weeks and after graduation is truly heartwarming.
Underwriting for Café Reconcile has come primarily from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Baptist Community Ministries. Partnerships with area restaurants have made internships and employment possible for graduates. In the spring of 2019 graduates will also have the opportunity to participate in the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute, a brand new program.
The next time you visit New Orleans we highly recommend veering off the beaten path for a soulful lunch . Lunch at Café Reconcile is a small investment, and a show of support for young adults and the community they serve.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED? The obvious choice is to dine at the Café for lunch. Check out the various ways you can support the organization and students. Click Here