In this restaurant, all the staff is made up of former homeless people in search of social reintegration
It is not just any restaurant that you will find in Rua Sao Jose, 54 in Lisbon, in the heart of the capital of Portugal.
The restaurant with the name "E Um Restaurant" is the first in Portugal to be managed completely by (ex) homeless people.
It is a beautiful initiative of social integration and hope that was created and sustained by the CRESCER association for those people who all too often are defined as those who are more socially and economically vulnerable and excluded.
The idea was born in 2016, thanks also to the participation and the support of the well-known Portuguese chef Nuno Bergonse, who took part directly in the selection of homeless food servers.
While interviewing the potential food servers, he discovered how each one of them has a life story that has produced complex situations that are always different from the others.
Nuno says: "The truth is that I talked to people who had never touched even a cigarette, had never used hard drugs, and they had ended up on the streets for completely different reasons: depression, separations or divorces that led to family rejection and breakups ... there are all kinds of situations."
The psychologist Alexandra Evaristo is also an essential member of the charity association Crescer, and his job is to encourage and help them to change or improve their lives and most of all, to believe in themselves.
Not only is the food excellent and has nothing to envy regarding what can be tasted in many starred restaurants of international fame, but having a meal there would show support and solidarity for this Crescer initiative which is an important indicator of its high social value.
Furthermore, and most importantly, for the sense of community that the restaurant creates and for the beneficial role it plays for those who now, as restaurant food servers, no longer feel that they are insignificant and excluded from society.