MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There are no limits to what you can accomplish, given the right tools and resources. That’s the message one New Jersey cafe aims to spread by almost exclusively hiring adults with intellectual disabilities.
The No Limits Cafe just opened its doors to the public. CBSN New York’s Nina Kapur visited the lunch cafe off Route 35 in Middletown on Wednesday.
“Eat well… do good.” That’s No Limit Cafe’s motto.
The restaurant employs 33 adults with intellectual disabilities, all in an effort to give everyone a real world experience, employment, and, of course, a paycheck.
“It’s our belief that EVERYONE has the ability to be a contributing member of society. Our employees will have a sense of pride and purpose, while serving our customers great food,” the establishment says on its website.
Employees get the opportunity to try everything. Responsibilities include serving, dish washing, running food, and even cooking. The kitchen is manned by two chefs, the floor is supervised by one manager at all times, and everyone is here to learn and grow.
Employees told Kapur they’re learning a lot — how to interact with customers, how to properly handle food, and so much more.
For many of the employees, this is their first job. But you’d never be able to tell. Everyone works very efficiently, and does so with a smile.
Again, inclusivity is the main message at the No Limits Cafe.
“Everybody wants to earn a paycheck, me, you. You want to have a meaningful life, be able to pay for things ourselves, to be able to support ourselves, so I think this is a life changer, a game changer for them,” No Limits Cafe co-founder Stephanie Cartier said.
“I always do the dishwasher. Right now, I feel really, really happy,” employee Conor Wright said.
The cafe has been open for a few weeks now, and members of the community are receiving it well.
“I’ve been supporting them ever since they first opened and they started the training. It’s just a great environment. It’s just happy, a happy place,” Middletown resident Pat Nelson said.
“In our three weeks we’ve had repeat customers and they even tell us the difference from when they first came until now is tremendous,” Cartier added.
The cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday. The business is a nonprofit. It runs solely on donations. To find out how you can contribute, please click here.