RAINELLE, WV (WOAY) – Valentine’s Day means a busy day for local restaurants. This is no different for Fruits of Labor in Rainelle, who is fully booked for their Valentine’s Day Dinner.
However, this local cafe is spreading the love in more ways than one.
It is bustling just like any other restaurant on Valentine’s Day but what sets this place apart is the way it not only serves the community but the people who work there as well.
It is an addiction recovery program, so many of the employees have gone through drug court or even prison and have now have been given a second chance.
“It’s like really tackling that issue, but in this creative way, so that not only is it education, it’s training, but it’s also employment, so we know that that employment piece actually stabilizes individuals that are pursuing that recovery effort and giving them hope for the future,” President and Executive Pastry Chef Tammy Jordan said.
Employees, or students as they call them, will go through a 12-week course to get their first level of certification with the National American Culinary Federation Quality Program.
If the students want to stay longer to get more certifications, they can stay for years all while being an employee of the restaurant and learning from staff.
“Valentine’s Day is wonderful because we get to do a little different than we do during lunch. They get to do a full dinner service with us,” Executive Chef and Lead Culinary Instructor Roy Lynch said. “They get to see how that is in an industry environment, and it’s also nice for the staff too. We get to do a little something different and really get to kind of pamper those people that are so wonderful to us in the community here.”
Fruits of Labor started 18 years ago as an agricultural company that expanded into a catering business and now a restaurant and educational center that is a staple in the Rainelle community and has been for the past 6 years.
The relationship between the community and the cafe is what helps it continue to be a place to gather and for the students, a place to heal as the program has an 85% graduation rate.
“It’s so much deeper,” Jordan said. “It’s just a wonderful integration of the organization that’s reaching out into the community and the community’s reaching right back to us.”
On the menu for Valentine’s Day, Fruits of Labor will serve menu items like prime rib, crusted chicken and pork chops and although they are fully booked, there are still takeout spots still available.