For more than 12 years, Cafe Reconcile (1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-568-1157; www.reconcileneworleans.org) has offered young people a chance to transform their lives through its job skills training and mentoring programs. More recently, the Central City nonprofit restaurant has undergone its own transformation.
Following a major expansion and renovation, the cafe part of the operation has resumed its weekday lunch service. The new design includes a courtyard and much more room, though the menu of hearty and inexpensive New Orleans classics has stayed largely the same —surely a relief to fans of Thursday's shrimp and white beans special. By summer, cafe hours will expand to include breakfast, and by the end of the year weekend dinners and Sunday gospel brunch should be added.
The cafe is just one part of a top-to-bottom redevelopment of Cafe Reconcile's five-story building, which includes a new event space called the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Center.