A new Detroit soul food restaurant is a success, and not just for its food.

Owners of the Sunday Dinner Company on East Jefferson have made it a point to hire at risk young people and ex-cons.

Half the staff of 23 people at the new restaurant are former prisoners who have received job training through Goodwill Industries’ “Flip the Script” program.

Co-owner and head chef Eric Giles told WWJ that this restaurant is a perfect opportunity, situation, and setting.

“I love that those who are coming out of the system can work with those who are on the brink of getting into the system,” said Giles.

“So the guys that are coming out that have been incarcerated for 18 years and really want to do right, can tell the younger ones who think ‘Well I wanna’ do this and I wanna’ hang out,’ they tell them that’s not the way to go,” said Giles.

38-year-old Kimberly Wolf did eight years in prison between Michigan and Ohio for transporting weapons across state lines.  She’s now a prep cook at the restaurant.

“This is the longest I’ve ever held down a job, I’m paying my own bills. I’m about to get my own place, I’m responsible, I’m stable now. You know, I’ve dedicated myself to my job,” said Wolf.

Giles believes he has a gift to see what someone can be, rather than see what they have done.

“That is a gift from God to see someone who might be broken, to see someone who may have made mistakes,” said Giles. “But you clearly see their potential and possibilities”

Giles said “Flip the Script” trainees helped to decorate and refurbish the building. The restaurant which opened Mother’s Day has a buffet-style soul food menu.

© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved.


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