Kindred. The word calls to mind relationships, similarities and connections. At a new cafe in Everett, it means all of that and more.
At Kindred Kitchen, part of HopeWorks Station at 3315 Broadway, the aim is to serve expertly made coffee and freshly prepared foods while providing young people with job skills and bright futures.
“We are very proud of the result,” said Brea Armbruster, Housing Hope marketing manager, at Friday’s grand opening of Kindred Kitchen.
Light, spacious and welcoming, with the motto “Food with Heart,” Kindred Kitchen is part of HopeWorks Social Enterprises. The agency offers job training to people in need. It’s an affiliate of Housing Hope, which has a three-decade history of sheltering low-income local families.
The cafe is on the ground level of HopeWorks Station Phase II.
Just north of ReNewWorks Home & Decor, also a HopeWorks business, the new five-story building with the cafe downstairs includes 65 units of affordable housing — studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.
On Friday, keyboard player Stephen Pilolla performed jazz tunes and customers were treated to some free beverages, discounts and prizes.
“The food is great here,” said Everett’s Bergie Dessius, 26. She had stopped with her sister, Jenny Alexandre, who was visiting from Boston with her 3-year-old daughter, Samora. “I’ve been here before,” Dessius said. “The new clam chowder is delicious — really good food.”
The cafe is open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays. Working Friday were baristas and professional chefs who’ll eventually train people for jobs in food service or other fields.
“Kindred Kitchen is geared toward youth and young adults, ages 16 to 24,” said Kristen “KK” Kosidowski, HopeWorks director of food service and training. By late January, she said, the first interns are expected to be in training, helped by the cafe’s anchor staff.
They’ll learn more than food safety and preparation, Kosidowski said. Just as important are “soft skills,” she said, such as punctuality, teamwork and professional communication. Those are key for workers in all kinds of jobs.
“We’re not so concerned that they’re hired into a restaurant. They can follow many different tracks,” said Kosidowski, whose background includes working for FareStart. For some 30 years, that Seattle-based organization has helped people in poverty learn to work in food service.
Customers and HopeWorks supporters stopped in Friday to sample breakfast sandwiches, soups and salads, and sandwiches with names — “Hat Island Ham” and “The Jetty” — adding to the local flavor.
Kosidowski took a few visitors upstairs to see an outdoor courtyard encircled by the new apartments. The space is quiet and safe from the traffic and troubles of Broadway.
Nearly half the apartments are now occupied, many with people who were recently homeless, Kosidowski said. The hope is full occupancy by New Year’s. “It’s a pretty powerful transition,” coming from the streets, Kosidowski said.
Some apartments are for homeless youth seeking long-term housing and skills. Others will house people involved in Snohomish County’s Family Drug Treatment Court, a treatment and parenting program. A tot’s ride-on toy in the courtyard was a sign that young children already live at HopeWorks Station.
The place isn’t done. Unfinished on the ground floor is an expansive room being planned as a banquet and event space. Already, Kindred Kitchen does catering for meetings and businesses.
“Kindred has been a journey. With residents moving upstairs and guests coming in, it reflects the organization,” Kosidowski said. “It’s not a social services dynamic,” she said of the cafe. On Friday, she saw someone being helped as part of a HopeWorks program in a conversation with a Kindred Kitchen customer.
“They meet each other in ways they wouldn’t otherwise connect,” she said.
More than five years ago, I attended a HopeWorks celebration. It was a thank-you party for people called “social investors” by Ed Petersen, now the agency’s chief strategic officer. Honorees had loaned money to achieve the HopeWorks mission. Major support had also come from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BECU and the Boeing Co.
“Change is coming to a stretch of Broadway near Everett Station,” I wrote in a column published April 4, 2014, just after the party. That evening, as Petersen talked about long-range plans for a five-story building with housing on Broadway, I wondered: Would it truly happen?
Change has come to a stretch of Broadway — warm, welcoming change brought about by kindred spirits.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.