Skip to main content

Café Momentum Nashville

This month, the ReImagine Nashville nonprofit we are highlighting is Café Momentum Nashville! They are doing incredible work supporting traditionally under resourced groups within the community. We are excited for you to learn more about them!

Fun Fact: Legacy has given Café Momentum five grants nationally since 2017 in 2 cities totaling $33,290.

About Café Momentum Nashville

Café Momentum is an award-winning restaurant and culinary training program that aims to transform young lives by equipping Nashville’s justice-involved youth with life skills, education and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. In building Café Momentum, our primary goal is to build a sustainable model that provides justice-impacted youth (ages 15-19) with the holistic support they need to TRULY THRIVE.

Café Momentum is a nationally-recognized nonprofit restaurant and professional training facility. We create holistic, individualized plans for young people to begin addressing the issues they’ve had to confront throughout their lives.

Our Roots

The Café Momentum Story:

In 2008, Chad Houser was the co-owner of a successful restaurant and had been nominated as the best up-and-coming chef in Dallas. At that time, he had the opportunity to teach eight young men in juvenile detention how to make ice cream – and that experience struck him to his core.

“I witnessed firsthand just how much the current model for juvenile justice is designed to negatively affect our youth. Rather than building a better system, we are trying the same thing over and over again. I realized that I wanted to open a restaurant – and I wanted to let these kids run it.”

Personal and Community Support

The secret behind Café Momentum’s success is the Momentum model for juvenile justice. The Momentum model offers an ecosystem of support, including educational and financial literacy, paid workforce development training, life skills and social skills training. Because of this wraparound support, interns can build strong foundations to get their education back on track and gain financial stability.

Café Momentum’s success in Nashville has transformed the lives of justice-involved youth and every customer that eats at their restaurant. As interns interact with the customers, bridges are created and mutual respect is built.

Café Momentum serves a unique recipe for success: The interns defy the odds and stay out of the criminal justice system as they move forward with their lives. Diners receive exceptional customer service and award-winning meals and can experience each intern’s capabilities and dignity firsthand.

Join the ReImagine Nashville Giving Circle!