What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Restaurant dedicated to empowering homeless women opens in downtown Raleigh

Posted September 28

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Carroll's Kitchen, a nonprofit restaurant dedicated to ending homelessness for women in Raleigh, holds its grand opening Wednesday.

The restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., is located on the busy corner of Martin and Wilmington streets.

"We are about fast, efficient, delicious and interesting food," said Executive Director Jim Freeze. "And the cherry on top is that you are supporting a great cause."

Freeze said the new restaurant is patterned after similar nonprofits in other cities, including King’s Kitchen in Charlotte.

"Coming out of a hard time, employment is one major way to break the cycle," Freeze said. "We want the women to use it as a platform to build on and grow."

The restaurant currently has five employees, although Freeze said he would like to hire at least one more. The women are referred to Carroll's through a program with a partner organization. Once hired, each woman is trained in the restaurant while learning employable skills and gaining self-confidence. Each woman also learns life skills, such as time management and budgeting.

Violet, who was hired at Carroll's through the program, said she is thrilled to work at the restaurant. She is also a big fan of the food.

"So far, there is not one thing on the menu that I wouldn't eat," she said. "There are some healthy salads and some great sandwiches...it's a good mixture."

The other ladies highly recommend the ham and cheese sandwich.

"We make all of the sauces ourselves, and each sandwich is filled with 4 oz. of meat," Violet said. "We cook and slice the meat fresh every day."

Another employee favorite is the vegan Carroll’s Collard Wrap - collard green (the size of two hands!) filled with house-made hummus, vegan feta, roasted vegetables, romaine lettuce and tomatoes. And kolaches are on the menu! The Polish pastries are popular in Texas, but are hard to come by in Raleigh.

The grab-n-go style restaurant features a menu full of fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. Local veggies from Raleigh City Farm, bread from Yellow dog Bread Company and coffee from Raleigh Coffee Company are staples on the menu.

"Someone looking for a quick breakfast in the morning could be in and out of here in under a minute," Freeze said.

But Freeze said none of it would be possible without the support of the Raleigh community.

"Our customers are everything," he said.

That concept is what prompted Carroll's to have what is a called a community card. Customers can donate to the card, and if a person in need comes in looking for a meal, they can use the card.

"We never want to turn away a customer. We tell that person, 'Your meal is on the community today,'" Freeze said.

Anyone looking to donate or get involved with Carroll's Kitchen is asked to visit their website.

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