SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — There is one eatery that is serving up more than just comfort food on the concourse at the new Chase Center.
Old Skool Cafe is also sharing its mission. The kiosk is staffed by youth from the Bayview-based jazz-themed supper club.
“Half of the time out of my day I’m at work,” said Old Skool Cafe employee Joshua Hernandez. “It just gives me time to be at work, instead of on the streets doing something bad.”
Old Skool Cafe, which opened in 2005, hires young people out of jail, foster care, or troubled homes, and trains them in all aspects of the restaurant business. The San Francisco eatery is now getting a big boost in business in the newest arena in the NBA.
“I think that’s probably the biggest thing for us. We want people to know how they can be a part of changing a lot of lives,” said founder and CEO Teresa Goines. “So if they come and they enjoy the food, every dollar they spend here goes right into their salaries, into their life skills; their coaching, mentorship, therapy.”
Goines is a former juvenile corrections officer who knows just how rewarding it is to help keep young people on the right track.
That’s the case for Old Skool Cafe employees 19-year-old Joshua Hernandez and 17-year-old Thai Liu.
“I was dealing with a lot of financial problem, I live with a single mother with three kids so Old Skool Cafe have provided me a place and give me income to help me mom,” said Liu.
Old Skool Cafe says one of its bestsellers is Abu’s Peanut Butter Stew, which is also gluten free. The restaurant projects that its presence at Chase Center will help boost its overall business by 30 percent.
“Before Old Skool I had financial struggles, homelessness. I was living in bad neighborhoods,” said Hernandez. “After Old Skool, I’m financially stable. I’m not homeless.”
I’ve been paying all of the bills for the house like the rent, and the PG&E and the water.”
During the opening preseason game at Chase Center, many Warriors fans like Daly City resident Brenda Mira got the chance to try its signature soul food for the first time.
“This is exciting. As soon as we walked in and I saw it, I recognized the bow ties and the hat. They are such a great organization. I’ve followed them on social media for years,” said Mira.
The recidivism rate for youth at Old Skool Cafe is 10 percent, compared to the national rate of 76 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
“My current goal is to to City College, get my GE and transfer out to get my business degree,” said Liu.
Hernandez is looking forward to graduating high school.
“I want to have my high school diploma and I want to have a car by the end of this year,” he said.
Until then, Hernandez and Liu are hoping to also catch a glimpse of their favorite Warriors players on the hardwood.