Café Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility, transforms young lives by equipping our community’s most at-risk youth with life skills, education and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential.


Café Momentum, working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department, strives to teach young adolescent men and women that it is possible to break the cycle of violence and crime that many of these teens have faced. We focus on creating environments for these youth where they can gain self-confidence and learn marketable skills to ensure a more successful future.


Cafe Momentum is a nonprofit restaurant which provides a 12-month paid post-release internship program for kids coming out of juvenile detention. The internship starts with a 2-week orientation at which time interns are connected with case managers to address basic urgent needs, establish a baseline of stability in their lives and set personal goals. The interns work their way through all areas of the restaurant, learning legal employment, social skills and life skills. Case management works to round out the ecosystem of support including; financial literacy training, parenting classes, educational assistance and career exploration. Case managers help to work through issues such as anger management, trauma recovery, fatherlessness and abandonment. After 12 months, successful interns are able to graduate from the program and are placed in a job with one of our community partners. These young men and women, who the juvenile justice system has referred to as “throw-aways” are now employed, tax-paying, wholly contributing members of society.


Fueled by Café Momentum serves as an extension of Café Momentum’s mission to provide justice involved youth another opportunity for job training, employment and mentorship opportunities. The partnership gives interns who have completed a 12-month internship at Café Momentum the opportunity to expand their professional development via a fellowship at Ruthie’s Food Truck. These partners provide employment and training to expand the training, counseling and curriculum that our program offers.


BUILDING MOMENTUM tells the story of founder Chad Houser’s efforts to provide resources, opportunity and wraparound care to justice-involved youth in his hometown of Dallas through the eyes of the Café Momentum team and the inspiring youth that the program serves. In an effort to support the program’s national expansion, the 5-part documentary will explore the Café Momentum ecosystem of support including employment, education, community and mental health services as well as the life-changing impact of the Momentum model on Dallas’ most at-risk youth. Café Momentum has begun its national expansion plans, bringing its acclaimed internship program to 2 new locations in 2021. Expansion is expected to reach 10 markets over the next 5 years, putting us on track for 50 markets in 25 years.

Teaching kids to play with …