BALTIMORE — What was once a parking lot at the corner of Washington Boulevard and W. Cross Street is now the home of Pigtown's newest restaurant.
Groundwork Kitchen opened on July 20 and is not only serving up meals like burgers, crab cakes and breakfast all day, it's also providing job opportunities for those looking for a second chance.
"The restaurant is the scene for a new culinary training program," said Ellen Levy, the program director at Groundwork Kitchen. "Its a free program, 12 weeks long, for community members interested in careers in food service."
The non-profit Paul's Place, which is just around the corner from the restaurant, is running the culinary training program. It has been in the Southwest Baltimore community for almost four decades, helping people with everything from housing and employment to the basics like food and clothing.
"This whole program really builds on the employment services and case management services that Paul’s Place has been providing," said Levy.
Applications are now available for the first culinary training class, which begins October 4. There are no educational or experience requirements. Executive Chef Kimberly Triplett said students will spend part of their time in the classroom and the rest working every job in the restaurant.
"We’re one of the businesses that is a vehicle for change in Pigtown," she said.
The menu at Groundwork Kitchen has something for everyone, from vegetarian and vegan options, to burgers, crab cakes and breakfast served all day. The more meals that go out, the more people who are looking for meaningful employment can come in.
"Our mission is to have the culinary program be successful so all proceeds, profits and donations for Groundwork Kitchen go right back into the culinary program for the students," said Triplett.
To see the menu, hours and applications for the culinary training program, click here.