By AC JosepH Media
BRIDGETON – Mayor Albert Kelly will help cut the grand opening ribbon July 5 for the grand opening of a unique downtown restaurant designed to help and build up local foster youth and young adults – the new Riverside Café at 36 S. Laurel Street.
Riverside Café director Loretta LaTourette said in a City of Bridgeton news release that the restaurant will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. While there is no regularly scheduled weekend entertainment for the café, LaTourette said she is open to the idea and hopes to participate in “First Fridays” downtown providing special offers to the community.
“Riverside Café is a ministry of Bridge the Gap Compassionate Ministry Board,” LaTourette said. “Our goal is to impact our community by offering a warm and welcoming place to gather with a particular focus on hiring and training our local foster youth and young adults by providing employment, stability and skills.”
The Riverside Café opens in the location of the old Bridgetowne Restaurant, which closed three years ago. The idea of Riverside began to take shape in mid-2018.
“LaTourette, along with the Bridge Compassionate Ministry Board and numerous supporters and friends, began to consider everything from seating and café logistics, to staffing, hours of operation and menu offerings which will include Richman’s ice cream, coffee, tea, water ice, Century Bakery donuts, and specialty treats,” the City of Bridgeton release read. “The opening menu is a starting place with additions coming in the months ahead.”
Riverside will hire at least four employees and depending on customer traffic and how the menu grows, as many as eight.
“Staff at the café will include a combination of paid employees and, consistent with their social impact mission, a contingent of volunteers and program workers to round out operations at the new café,” the release continued. “According to LaTourette the café will be a warm and welcoming place with some refreshingly cold ice cream.”
The Bridge Compassionate Ministry Board is party of the ministry of the Bridgeton First Church of the Nazarene. Riverside Café is next to the Bridge Thrift Store and the Learning Center, which is also connected to the ministry.