News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Texas News

A Restaurant Program For Youth Offenders Will Get A Permanent Location

Dane Walters
Students in the culinary program at the Dallas Youth Village prepare vegetable quesadillas during a pop-up dinner last year.

Café Momentum has been hosting once-a-month pop-up dinners in various locations for three years, but it will finally have a permanent home.

The building will be located at 1510 Pacific Ave., on the ground floor of a seven-story parking garage. The location is close to public transportation and offers enough space for customer parking, a full-service restaurant, catering and banquet facilities, and a classroom.

“This space is our opportunity to not only mentor more young men with job, life and social skills, but it will also serve as a hub for community building with catering services and a classroom all in one place,” Café Momentum executive director Chad Houser told CultureMap Dallas.

Café Momentum serves as a culinary training center for kids who are serving time in juvenile detention centers. Since it opened in 2011, the café has had 35 pop-up dinners and worked with 160 young men from the Dallas County Youth Village. In order to participate, the young men take a culinary class at Youth Village, and the top students get to work in the kitchen with high-profile chefs at the café’s once-a-month dinners. Café Momentum also helps the kids find jobs.

The program has been successful so far: the recidivism for those who participate is 11 percent, well below the state average of 47 percent.

KERA profiled the program last year. In this video, Leonardo Alvarez, a graduate of Café Momentum, talks about his legal troubles and his fight to lead a different life:

The building for Café Momentum is tentatively expected to open in December.