LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – One restaurant is more than just a place to eat. It’s also a place that gives recovering addicts a job, support, and a second chance.
And after three years, DV8 Kitchen is preparing to open a second location with a larger bakery.
“Working here, it’s given me a sense of pride,” said Michael Hedges, one of the people the restaurant is designed to help, men and women in the early stages of recovery from substance abuse.
Hedges has been working at DV8 Kitchen as a server, and in the bakery for a little more than a year.
He says he was welcomed with open arms, which helped him through his recovery process.
“Being able to talk to the customers, it’s been really helpful, because I started out serving so I immediately had interactions with everybody,” Hedges said. “And just being able to like be myself and talk to them and actually tell them what I’m here for and why I’m here made it a whole lot easier to get through what I was going through.”
Hedges graduated from Shepard’s House in June, which is a place for long-term care and recovery programming.
DV8 Kitchen co-owner Rob Perez says they like to celebrate recovery and the employees they hire are motivated to work.
He says they want to educate people on what recovery is, “People are systematically eliminated from employment when they have a past of addiction a past of incarceration and so it helps because we don’t have any restrictions.”
A group of businesses are coming together, including DV8 Kitchen, to create a complex of health care, food, and financial well-being for those in Lexington’s East End.
It’s on the corner of Midland Avenue, Winchester Road, and Third Street.
The new DV8 location will have a wholesale bakery operation, as well as a second restaurant.
The founders plan to fill about 30 new positions, and people are already reaching out about future employment.
Perez says the timing of when the new location opens depends on COVID-19.