If you eat at Edwins, the waiter who serves you will most likely have done time.
That’s because the Cleveland restaurant, which specializes in upscale French cuisine, also makes a point of employing former prisoners. The non-profit that it belongs to, the Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute, provides a six-month training course for ex-cons looking to learn the restaurant business, during which the students work nights.
“All we’re simply trying to do is present a perspective that’s a more powerful yes,” Brandon Chrostowski, founder of Edwins, explained. “So when you’re on that more powerful yes, whatever temptation’s coming your way you’re more inclined to say no to.”
Starting next week, Edwins even plans to provide its own housing for its trainees. The non-profit has been building a 20,000-square-foot campus over the past year, complete with dormitories, a library, and a gym.
Edwins' employees describe their work as a second chance.
“If you’re trying to better yourself, other than you believing in yourself, someone has to believe in you,” one kitchen worker said.