Dallas: Cafe Momentum Serves Up a Life Changing Menu

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Cafe Momentum is located downtown.
Cafe Momentum is located downtown.

Photo Credit: Cafe MomentumWhat does a high-end restaurant and at-risk juveniles have in common?

At first glance nothing but if you look a little deeper you’ll find Cafe Momentum, a restaurant with the crazy idea that at-risk kids can be transformed with a little encouragement and a purpose for their lives. They are working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department to ensure that these kids have better futures than they’ve had pasts. Many of the adolescents that come through the restaurant have lived in homes where violence and crime have been a way of life. Cafe Momentum creates environments where they gain self-confidence through the life skills that they are learning. During the 12 month program these young men learn every aspect of how a restaurant works from the ground up. They wait on tables, wash dishes, and work alongside established chefs.

Cafe Momentum does catering as well as dinners in house.
Cafe Momentum does catering as well as dinners in house.

Photo Credit: Cafe Momentum

And they get paid a living wage to do it.

Privately funded, Cafe Momentum is the brainchild of Chef Chad Houser. He is the executive chef: planning menus and overseeing the business, but also has a chef de cuisine and a sous-chef running the kitchen.

And what a kitchen!

If you are expecting to walk in to a hole-in-the-wall and be served overpriced bologna sandwiches for a good cause, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The space is bright, sleek and contemporary with pops of color from the Gerber daisy on each table. Menu items are cutting edge. Houser takes fresh, local comfort foods and elevates them to gourmet fair right alongside more exotic ingredients. For example, smoked fried chicken is served with a marble potato salad and cider slaw. Who would have thought of smoked fried chicken? Not this discerning writer.

The interior is a sleek, contemporary style with pops of color from fresh flowers.
The interior is a sleek, contemporary style with pops of color from fresh flowers.

Photo Credit: Cafe Momentum

Steak and eggs is elevated by using local Wagyu beef and cabernet poached eggs. Fava salad is given a champagne vinaigrette, and the list goes on. And then you get to the dessert list — rhubarb and peach fried pies with pistachio ice cream or perhaps apple pies with smoked cheddar ice cream, polenta financiers, and Cafe Momentum’s unique twist on that oh-so-trendy dessert darling, S’mores. Wine and local beer is also served.

If you are ready to head out the door you should know that Cafe Momentum is only open Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 to 11 PM. Reservations are accepted.

How often can you enjoy a brilliantly crafted meal in a clean, contemporary space, and contribute something wonderful to the community at the same time? At Cafe Momentum the answer would be three evenings a week.

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