Business in Focus: After 26 Depot Cafe
There’s a restaurant in Cadillac that is serving up a greater purpose by employing adults with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairment.
During a recent visit to the After 26 Depot Cafe, ‘The Four’s Michelle Dunaway chats some of the employees to learn more about their menu, mission, and the meaning behind the name.
“In the state of Michigan, at the age of 26, adults with special needs either graduate or age out of the public school system,” explained General Manager Kelly Hondorp. “A lot of times the big question is ‘what do I do now?'”
As a part of the After 26 Project, they created a restaurant that gives those who are often left out and forgotten a place to work and grow. “At the After 26 Depot Cafe, they work sometimes just a two-hour shift to one day a week,” Hondorp said. “They bus tables, wash dishes and provide wonderful enjoyment to not just myself, but to all of the guests that come in.”
Like with many restaurants, they had to make changes and adapt to the current health regulations.
They are currently at 50% capacity, enforcing the six-feet rule, and offering both carry-out and an outside dining option. Plus, every employee wears a mask, and project workers must wear gloves when they bus tables.
According to Hondorp, the After 26 Depot Cafe has adjusted very well, and they look forward to not only continuing their outstanding service and food items – but helping those who need it most. “We provide them meaningful employment that they so desperately want. It gives them some independence and pride.”
The restaurant is currently open 6 days a week. You can explore and enjoy their menu items Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. They serve breakfast and lunch – and also rent out their venue for evening special events.
For more information about the After 26 Project, and the After 26 Depot Cafe, click here.