Nonprofit cafe is determined to serve Denver community despite COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-05 16:27:56-05

DENVER -- Restaurants have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a Denver café is determined to make a difference.

The Osage Café is a nonprofit that serves as a training ground for at-risk teens while providing healthy meals to the community. The breakfast and lunch spot is also the Denver Housing Authority's first social venture.

"It’s not just a matter of providing somebody with the basic shelter and a home but also investing into their future economic mobility, and that is done through the training such as here at the Osage Café," said Slavica Park, Director of Community Connections at the Denver Housing Authority.

Like any other restaurant across the state, COVID-19 is presenting unique challenges. The tiny café is no longer offering indoor seating but menu items are available to-go. The restaurant recently reopened after being closed for the entire month of October.

"We thought this would be a really good opportunity for us to pause, take a closer look at our curriculum, take a much closer look at the food that we serve," said Park.

She said the café is just the beginning. The Denver Housing Authority has big plans for future projects like a grocery store and food incubator in the Sun Valley development.

"Input that we had from the community and particularly in our neighborhoods, was the lack of access to healthy foods and so the Osage Café was really one of our first endeavors to do that," said Ryan Tobin, Chief Real Estate Investment Officer for the Denver Housing Authority.

The Osage Café is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. During the week of November 16, the cafe is offering a pay-what-you-can Thanksgiving lunch special with turkey, sides and a slice of pumpkin pie.