The restaurant, named Fig at Courtney’s House, will provide an opportunity for adults with developmental disabilities to learn job skills and engage with the community.
“It’s about inclusion, it’s about them getting a chance to really show what they can bring to the table and offer and be a member of the community,” said Carrie Sanders, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.
Plans are underway for the restaurant to have a soft opening around mid-June, with a grand opening and ribbon cutting June 23. An open house for the cafe will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. Any proceeds will help Courtney’s House expand the cafe and other programs.
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Sanders said she had been trying to open a cafe at Courtney’s House at 311 Sixth St. (which has a commercial kitchen, as the space formerly housed restaurant Penny’s at the Manse) for some time and had met with several prospects, but it never worked out.
That changed after Sanders met Christina Dillow, who owns Fig Good Food with her husband Dennis and her brother Don Dockstader, by chance at a Templeton nursery in March.
“It felt like all of our setbacks had been for a reason — it wasn’t quite the perfect thing, just waiting until I could meet Chris (when) it just all clicked,” Sanders said.
Fig at Courtney’s House will serve breakfast and lunch. Sanders said she hopes that eventually the cafe will be open occasionally in the evenings to serve take-away dinners for concerts or events at the park across the street.
Dillow expects that Fig at Courtney’s House will cater many of the events, such as weddings, family reunions and rehearsal dinners, that take place in the backyard of Courtney’s House.
The restaurant will seat about 50 people counting some outside space, which includes a wraparound porch and picnic tables in the yard.
One of the rooms will be used as a kids’ area, and another room will be a waiting area and casual space where customers can have a cup of coffee or read.
The Courtney’s House programs will continue as usual, using the house during the afternoons and evenings.
Adults from Courtney’s House will work with job coaches alongside Dillow’s restaurant staff. She plans to hire about 10 or 11 employees; two will likely be full-time.
The job training will begin around July, giving Dillow’s restaurant staff time to work out the details of the new place.
The job coaches and adults from Courtney’s House will be paid for their work. Sanders plans to invite other programs — such as PathPoint and school programs that work with 18- to 22-year-olds with developmental disabilities — to use the restaurant for job training as well. She said it’s up to those programs to decide whether their participants will receive a paycheck.
Fig at Courtney’s House will operate as one of the nonprofit’s programs; Dillow and her staff will be paid to run the cafe.
“We want it to be a successful stand-alone business so that we can continue to bring our adults in for job training and sustain the program,” Sanders said.
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