DEMING Charlie Cats Restaurant, located at 1601 E. Pine Street, has been warmly received in the community as the only non-profit restaurant in Deming. Under the banner of Colores United – a 501©3 registered organization – the café was well received during its grand opening on June 12.
“We had a car show, Deming’s sublime bosses, and of course, delicious menu items,” said Crystal Melo, the organization’s secretary. “The concept of this project is to provide a hands-on learning experience for young people to find meaningful employment in the food industry and continue our service to the community.”
So how does a nonprofit run a restaurant? “Grants,” Milo told Lamps. “At Colores United, we continue to provide food distribution efforts throughout the community. We provide clothes and personal hygiene items and work with asylum seekers continues.”
The ultimate desire was to provide the community with delicious, nutritious food in a family-friendly atmosphere while providing training and resources to the communities’ youth, according to a Colores United press release. Charlie Cat’s Diner focuses on culture and diversity offering community learning and nutrition programs within a fully functional restaurant. “It provides training in creativity and hospitality skills in a safe and loving environment,” said Ariana Saludaris, co-founder of Colores United.
According to Milo, the dinner menu is concise and tasty. From sliders, to full-size hamburgers, fresh French fries, and hot, made-from-scratch pizza, with fresh dough made, prices are reasonable, and profits are replenished to cover the costs of food, utilities, and city services. “Our tip jar is what goes back to our Colores United community projects,” Milo told Headlight.
Chef Frances McCullough provides a cosmopolitan backdrop to the kitchen of Charlie Cutts. She was once cooking for the Cirque de Soleil performance group and gained international fame for her recipes. “Students learn from a talented chef,” Milo said.
High school students are on the payroll which is completed through New Mexico Workforce Solutions in Deming. At any given time, the diner has two chefs and at least six servers on the floor.
The decor is a 1950s dinner, complete with Wildcat memorabilia and an antique music box. “We’re trying to get that up and running,” Milo said. Meanwhile, music from that era is carried over the dinner.
Colores United says the benefits of Charlie Cats Diner are numerous. Student staff are introduced to culinary arts and food safety, confidence and pride in new abilities and an appreciation of different cultures through knowledge of alternative food, preparation, and techniques.
Comfort food is a popular topic these days, and Charlie Cuts Diner is taking that into account.
“Learning about food – where it comes from – how to prepare it, and its nutritional value are important to our well-being. Learning how to prepare and include a healthy diet benefits not only you, but your family as you offer them new and healthier options. It also teaches important life skills Others such as communication, time management, safe food practices, teamwork, how to accept constructive criticism, and trust.
The new restaurant plans to bring special events into the community and will also provide services to organizations in Deming County and Luna.
The Charlie Cuts Board of Directors includes Dr. Katie Randall, Gonzalez, and Saludaris.
Dinner hours are 6am to 3pm, seven days a week. Call 575-592-8427 or visit www.charliecats.org.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-494-5059 or [email protected]