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St. John's Hungry Heart Café celebrates 10th anniversary

Paul Furey, a server at the Hungry Heart Café, prepares to take the daily special — the ham, leek and gruyere quiche — to a customer.
Paul Furey, a server at the Hungry Heart Café, prepares to take the daily special — the ham, leek and gruyere quiche — to a customer. - Sam McNeish

$10 specials, countless feel-good stories highlight social enterprise’s impact on participants, community

Are you looking for a great and reasonably priced meal, fare that is made fresh every day and also supports a social enterprise that helps those whom you interact with during your time there?

Then look no further than the Hungry Heart Café in St. John’s, a socially responsible café and caterer offering the freshest homemade specialties. It also provides training opportunities to clients of Stella’s Circle.

The café is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month and has designed a special menu and offers for the public for the celebration.

A number of the café’s favourite dishes from the past 10 years are being offered for 10 days for $10 each. The specials will be announced on Monday for the upcoming week.

“I am very passionate about what we do here. I get what everyone here calls the ‘Olympic Chill,’” Carolyn Power, executive chef at the Hungry Heart Café, said while showing everyone in the room the goose bumps she has while discussing the café and its people.

“This is special for me because the social mission is there. I talk about it to anyone who will listen because I am always moved by the possible change we are making in people’s lives. And the food is really good!”
She said the basis of what they do is ensure the kitchens are a tolerant workspace, a low-key environment where people from all backgrounds feel comfortable and safe to work in.

She said it is not about laying blame for anything, where there is a lot of yelling or swearing, but a nice, calm demeanor where the staff work toward improving themselves on a daily basis by learning new skills and coping mechanisms.

Power said it is also about celebrating the past and the present onsite and serving a number of in-house favourites from previous years.

“These are things that Hungry Heart made that people still talk about and that people still want,” she said.

“It is paying homage to our history.”

Training is key
Over its history, Hungry Heart Café has achieved that and more.

“In the almost 10 years that the Hungry Heart Café has been open the Café has provided 90,000 hours of employment and 50,000 workplace-based training hours to participants of Stella’s Circle,” said Rob McLennan, director of employment services.

“We have been good at finding opportunities for our clients, learning opportunities for people with limited or no previous employment experience due to various challenges in their lives with a number of things we take for granted.”

McLennan said everyone associated with Hungry Heart is proud of the food they produce and the service they provide to the public, in addition to the people involved in preparing items as part of the social enterprise training initiative.

He said training is provided in all areas of the operation, from dishwashers to line staff and the people who work in food prep cutting carrots and onions to start one of the many dishes offered to the public.

In addition to working in the café, staff could work in the catering end of the operation, preparing meals for outside organizations and community groups.

They also pride themselves in using local products whenever they can.
 

All about Hungry Heart
The Hungry Heart Café is a flagship social enterprise in St. John’s and helps people with barriers to employment receive employment training.

The cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For reservations, call 709-738-6164 or email dining@stellascircle.ca or go to the webpage at HungryHeartCafe.ca for additional information.

Takeout is available.
If you would like eight or more it would be advantageous to order the day before, as limited quantities will be available.

$10 specials

The following are the $10 specials available during the Hungry Heart Café’s 10th anniversary celebrations April 9-20:

Monday, April 9 – Chicken and sweet potato in coconut green curry

Tuesday, April 10 – Turkey Waldorf Wrap

Wednesday, April 11 – Ham, leek and gruyere quiche

Thursday, April 12 – Moose stroganoff

Friday, April 13 – Local beef burger, bacon jam, cheddar cheese

Monday, April 16 – Eggs benny or Florentine, potato roesti and hollandaise

Tuesday, April 17 – Pork ramen, rib patty, Shanghai bok choy, poached egg

Wednesday, April 18 – Fried chicken and waffles, bacon gravy and green beans

Thursday, April 19 – Cinnamon pork bahn mi, pickled vegetables, spicy mayo

Friday, April 20 – Asian noodle salad, grilled salmon

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