Here’s a note to take down: The next time you happen to visit Lexington, Kentucky, set aside some time to enjoy a home cooked meal at DV8 Kitchen. Not only is the acclaimed eatery (with 185 five-star Yelp reviews) serving customers top-notch food, it is also going out of its way to promote the message of recovery.
For starters, DV8 has filled its entire staff with people who have beaten a substance abuse disorder. And owner Rob Perez doesn’t just advocate for recovery, he himself has proudly gone through treatment and is now 28 years sober.
DV8 also maneuvers its operating hours so that staff members can attend meetings or participate in their treatment programs. Tips are split evenly and added to paychecks, to avoid quick cash exchanges and help the entire team as a whole.
The restaurant also hosts regular guest speaker nights, where community members come in and discuss issues like health, finances, teamwork and responsibility. Rideshares are also available to assist employees who may have lost their licenses or need transportation for court appointments.
As Perez explained to TheFix.com, the unique business model of DV8 Kitchen is attracting a lot of positive attention.
“I think that the customers see a different face of recovery. It is about helping the folks that work here,” he explained. “But it’s also about helping the general public understand that the recovery community is worth a shot. The recovery community can perform good work.”
Perez also firmly believes that the fundamentals of a restaurant service job closely align with treatment and recovery goals.
“When you do a job with quality, you build self respect, self-esteem and pride in a craft you’re developing,” he added. “In recovery, we need a support system and an accountability system. And the camaraderie you get out of a job when you have common interests, backgrounds and circumstances, is pretty powerful.”
And let’s not forget the restaurant’s primary claim to fame. They proudly carry over the message of health onto every menu item. As their website proclaims, DV8 provides all-natural, delicious food which is always made to order.
We are certainly thrilled to spread the word about this inspirational new eatery. And it makes us even more excited to hear that a business model such as this can not only succeed, but thrive! Let’s hope more entrepreneurs in our home state of California take notice and follow suit.