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Cafe Momentum through with pop-ups, will open full-service restaurant in downtown Dallas this December

, the super popular charity that teaches restaurant and service skills to at-risk youths, will terminate its monthly pop-up dinners and relocate to a permanent space of its own in December.

Cafe Momentum executive director Chad Houser says he’s relocating the organization to a permanent home at 1510 Pacific Avenue at Akard Street in Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas, a site with good proximity to public transportation —  a necessity for the youths involved in Café Momentum. The space also offers ample customer parking and enough square footage for a full-service restaurant (with seating for 85), catering, banquet services and a classroom. Last month, Houser announced that chefs Eric Shelton and Justin Box would head the restaurant’s full-time culinary team.

Chad Houser changes lives. We wrote this about him last year, and it’s as true today as it was then:

He is a superhero, changing lives one day at at time through a mission supported by Cafe Momentum fundraising dinners, which sell out in less than one minute. 

Chad carries out his Atlas works quietly. Humbly. Powerfully. And without a lot of fanfare. The at-risk youths he mentors at Cafe Momentum are better for having Chad in their lives. And so are you and I.

Each of the kids that he wraps inside his enormous superhero cape knows that Chad has their back. That Chad can be the role model they never had. That Chad and every one of Cafe Momentum’s volunteers cares about them. Spend a Sunday at a  Cafe Momentum dinner with these kids who have lost their way, and you’ll know it, too. No, you’ll feel it. Deep in your soul.  You will stand up and applaud. You will tear up. And you will want to be a part of it. 

Chad will tell you that when these wayward teenagers complete their assignments with Cafe Momentum, they will have earned not just self-respect, but they will have uncorked the important employment elixers of tenacity, teamwork, kindness, accountability and self-worth.

Read on. Chad will convince you that he and Cafe Momentum are changing lives. And you will want to be a part of it.

Thanks to the folks at Cafe Momentum, these kids will make the world a better place. Quietly. Humbly. Powerfully. And without a lot of fanfare. 

Just like Chad, who really is a superhero. 

In a press release, Houser says “1510 Pacific is the tangible reality of a longtime dream for everyone involved with Café Momentum. This space is our opportunity to not only mentor more young men with job, life and social skills on a daily basis, it will also serve as a hub for community building with catering services and a classroom all in one place. Our guests will not only eat well, but will know that their dining presence is making a difference in the lives of our city’s most at-risk youth.”

From the release: Café Momentum has hosted sold-out, monthly pop-up dinners at restaurants throughout Dallas  since June 2011 while working toward this goal of operating its own restaurant. Throughout the course of the previous 35 pop-up dinners, Café Momentum has worked with 160 young men from the Dallas County Youth Village. The recidivism rate for those young men is 11 percent, compared to the 47 percent state average, resulting in a Dallas County taxpayer savings of more than $7 million.

In July 2014, the organization hired two new chefs to assist with catering and the forthcoming full-service space. Eric Shelton joined as chef de cuisine and Justin Box will serve as executive sous chef. Eric learned his fundamental basics at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island and has worked at Nana Grill, Green Room, The Driskill Hotel, The Four Seasons in Downtown Austin, M Dining at the Music Hall at Fair Park and most recently was the featured chef at Kitchen LTO.  Justin has worked for some of the top restaurants in Dallas; previously working at Stephan Pyles Caters, Restaurant Ava and Bolsa. The chef team is looking forward to collaborating on an inventive menu that not only delights guests, but also shows off the extraordinary untapped abilities of the Café Momentum interns.

In March 2015, Café Momentum will receive $487,640 in funding from Crystal Charity Ball, which will be applied to operating expenses (and expansion of Cafe Momentum programming into the LeTot girls facility currently under construction). The restaurant/classroom space finish-out will be funded through the organization’s “Get the Doors Open” Campaign, which allowed funders to directly support the goods and materials needed to finish out the restaurant space, as well as additional donor contributions and grant monies. Further details about the December opening, menu, hours of operation, etc. will be announced closer to the grand opening.


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