BOISE — A taste of success can be just what some people need to turn around and head down the right path.
Life's Kitchen takes at-risk kids and teaches them skills that will help them throughout their lives.
After 17 years, the nonprofit left its downtown location due to safety concerns over the roof. Now, after months of construction, their brand-new facility is ready to open its doors.
“Life's kitchen is about serving second chances and Marie Callender's was only one restaurant and so we're giving this restaurant a second chance. We're very excited for the future in the journey that we're going into,” Executive Director Tammy Johnson said.
The previous cafe downtown was able to serve about 40 to 45 people, but the new cafe can serve up to 78.
The larger space means more room for trainees. Since they can expand their program, they also are increasing the age range from 16 to 20-year-olds to 16- to 24-year-olds.
Life’s Kitchen completely renovated the old Marie Callenders on Fairview but kept some parts of the original restaurant.
"Some of the uniqueness and the ambiance of Marie Callenders that we loved and the idea of bringing to Life’s Kitchen, and one of them is this bar," Johnson said. "Some of the new things they can find is lighting, rugs, upgraded mechanical electrical, but you know most importantly is our classrooms for our kids. Because of space, we were able to do a culinary classroom, a computer lab as well as a life skill room for each thing that we teach. That provides that quietness and that atmosphere that the trainees need for learning."
After waiting, Johnson says she's excited to finally open their doors and continue to have an impact on youths who need help.
"Every trainee that we're able to touch and able to help move them forward then gain independence, the workforce, the life skills and the GED is just one more success not only for us but for them,” Johnson said. “Just come in and see us and be surprised."
The nonprofit's grand opening is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 15 with a ribbon-cutting at noon. The new location is at 8574 W. Fairview Ave in Boise.