Curt's Café, the restaurant that employs and trains at-risk youth in Evanston, is spawning a sister restaurant in the former home of Perla Café. Where Curt's Café works with men (between the ages of 16 and 22) who have had experience with the criminal justice system, Curt's South will work with females of a similar age and background, as well as teen mothers. The new location is aiming to open later this week.
Healthy fare is expected to be served at Curt's South, which would mean items such as quinoa bowls, smoothies and Curt's signature scones. And, since Evanston Township High School is nearby, the café will serve "teen food" dishes such as ramen bowls and totchos (tater tot nachos).
The goal for both establishments is to provide the job and life skills they need to be successful in the work place. They will also get training in other subjects like financial literacy, nutrition and fitness, and will get mentorship and support once they leave Curt's to enter the work force.
Additionally, John des Rosiers, chef/owner of Inovasi in Lake Bluff, has come on board for a long term partnership to develop and maintain new locations as well as help grow the Curt's brand and make the charity a self-sustaining entity.
Des Rosiers plans to bring a taqueria concept for Curt's Café's evening hours, named La Taqueria, which will be managed, staffed and (mostly) operated by graduates of the café. The planned launch date for La Taqueria is May 4. The Inovasi Restaurant Group will help develop menus, recipes, design elements and more but will not take any compensation for doing so.
The Charlie Trotter's vet also helped kicked off a new, monthly chef series that raises funds and awareness of the charity last week. Des Rosiers is hoping that his and the efforts of the entire Curt's team encourages other chefs to get more deeply involved in charity projects.