…the ultimate effort to re-built New Orleans one youth at the time.

They all come from different background: ex-drug dealers, single moms, school drop-outs and ex-street workers. But when they cross the doors of Cafe Reconcile on Oretha C. Haley Boulevard at 8 am sharp (if you are not on time, you may loose your chance to eat breakfast. And trust me, you want to have the exquisite grits, eggs, bacon and biscuit Chef Joe makes for the workers fresh daily) they are all the same- united to seek new opportunity to grow into better people.

They Cafe` was born out of a dream to change the community around mid city. Craig Cuccia is the owner, director and the one who should be given the benefit for trying so hard for the past 10 year to make this happen.
I was introduced to Cafe` Reconcile on a spring Monday at lunch time when my friend Bill took me and another friend of mine, CJ, to eat there. Needless is to say that after I gorged on Okra, mashed potatoes and fried fish until I could barely move, I realize this place was not just a teaching facility, but a good hearted restaurant with wonderful food. And I wanted to tell its story with visuals.

So, here it’s some “behind the curtains” shots of what happens in the morning before 11am when the restaurant opens to the public. Here is how Chef Joe teaches his students to “beat the meat” or prepare the pork tenderloin to be cooked “the right southern-style,” or how students learn to prepare mac and cheese sauce and to set tables and take orders from clients for their first time.

These are the same servers who used to be living in the streets selling cheap drugs to make a living the way they could, but, who thanks to Reconcile one day maybe will be better off as butcher, chefs or hostesses somewhere around New Orleans because “when opportunity knocked they did not wait, but they pushed the door open as soon as they could.”
So, now, the best thing you can do is to support such effort by stopping by at Cafe` Reconcile for some friend fish or some bread pudding with fresh raisins…you will not be disappointed, I promise you! Plus, your gluttony will go toward a just cause. What more could you ask?!


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