FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Friendship Circle Fort Lauderdale, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is excited to announce the opening of The Friendship Café, a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant that trains and employs adults with autism, down syndrome, and other special needs.
Located at 1306 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, the official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by Mayor Dean Trantalis will be held on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. The entire Fort Lauderdale community is invited to attend.
"The Friendship Cafe is an exciting community project, and I am truly thrilled by the idea of a restaurant that serves great food made with love by our special needs adults," stated Dean Myerow, a local cannabis entrepreneur and advisor to the Friendship Circle. "After being introduced to The Friendship Circle and their impact on the community through my teenagers, who regularly volunteer, I began attending weekly programming. The café expands the potential to do good, one of the core values of the organization."
Friendship Café offers employment training, education, and employment to adults and young adults with developmental disabilities who want to work in the food service, hospitality, or customer service industry. The job skills that will be acquired by special needs adults include customer service, food safety, food prep, and many more.
The one-story, 700-square foot cafe was created from two former restaurant spaces that had been vacated on Las Olas, and the vision was executed by Bill Feinberg, President of Allied Kitchen & Bath, whose firm donated time and materials to the project. The fast-casual restaurant will feature a warm and cozy French country theme designed by international interior designer, Perla Lichi of Perla Lichi Designs.
The Friendship Cafe is a community-based Mediterranean restaurant featuring a menu that includes falafel platters, falafel pitas, hummus platters, vegetarian shawarma, fresh salads, coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. The delectable offering was conceptualized by Alex Rabino and Ana Silva of Netspot USA, along with all logistical procedures to support the special needs team members they hire.
The food in the café does not fall short of delicious. World-renowned chef, Yoram Getter, the owner of several of the most successful restaurants in all of Israel, is the creative force and hard worker behind the scenes when it comes to The Friendship Cafés cuisine. A perfectionist by nature, he is the ideal person to be involved with a restaurant from conception to birth. When Yoram heard about the café employing adults with special needs, he was more than compelled to be a major facet of the restaurant. The café and its mission have a special place in Yoram's heart, having a nephew with special needs himself.
The Friendship Cafe intends to broaden its ability to employ more special needs adults as the restaurant becomes self-sustaining. Elizabeth Camp, the special needs program coordinator, has been actively training the special needs adults alongside the cafe's professional restaurant staff. "We are so lucky to have found someone who has the skillset and personality to know what it takes to train special needs adults to integrate into the workforce. We are living miracles here," stated Bill Feinberg. The organization is actively seeking individual volunteers and corporate partners that are passionate about helping those with special needs and to further the mission.
About Friendship Café
The Friendship Cafe was created because approximately 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed nationwide. Friendship Cafe focuses on abilities rather than limitations and is a local incubator for learning employment and social skills while serving top quality food and making friends along the way. For more information, please visit https://www.friendshipcafefl.org.
About Friendship Circle Fort Lauderdale
Friendship Circle is an organization with over 80 chapters worldwide pairing developmentally disabled individuals with volunteer Friends. Friendship Circle of Fort Lauderdale, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which has been serving the needs of over 54 special needs citizens in Fort Lauderdale for the past five years. For more information, please visit https://www.friendshipfl.org.
"Eating Great, Doing Good and Making Friends"
Lais Pontes Greene
The Pontes Group
SOURCE The Friendship Cafe