Café Momentum x Ruthie’s Rolling Café: Not a Normal Food Truck

Published March 25, 2019 at 1:52pm.
Story by Mary Martin. Photos by Katie Kelton.


Buzzing with energy, this month’s Sunday Supper at Café Momentum included a new addition that was hard to miss. The bright blue and pink food truck parked in front of the downtown restaurant signaled to guests that expansion was in the works.

Ashlee Kleinert and Chad Houser.

Ashlee Kleinert and Chad Houser.

Chad Houser, Founder, CEO, and Executive Chef of Café Momentum took to the stage during a family-style dinner of North Carolina whole hog barbecue to announce that Ruthie’s Rolling Café will be the newest externship opportunity for students graduating from the Café Momentum program. For Chad, the opportunity for his graduates to work in a mission-focused business like Ruthie’s is speaking belief and confidence over students who have left the juvenile justice system with little of either.

Thanking the crowd, he said, “You’re telling them you believe in them, and you’re giving them confidence. The juvenile justice industry term to describe population we work with is ‘throwaway.’ That’s the term they use to describe children. For them, it’s a name they wear on their chest. Every day. This is who I am, not who I want to be, but who I’ve been told I am. But when you show up here tonight, they begin to build confidence, and they begin to re-image who they are and begin to define who they truly are in life.”

Maya, with some of her Café Momentum family.

Maya, with some of her Café Momentum family.

Ashlee Kleinert, Founder and President of Ruthie’s Fueled by Café Momentum, stepped up to the platform and shared her thoughts about the partnership, saying, “When these young men and ladies come to us, they will have had the absolute best training. We are a family, they are a family, and we are merging families together.”

The first member of the new joint family is Maya, who has been dubbed a Café Momentum Fellow, bringing her carefully crafted work ethic, food experience, and positive attitude to the Ruthie’s team. Ruthie’s two-truck fleet will not only give Café Momentum fellows steady employment, but they will also have a voice in where the food trucks stop and which nonprofit they support, delivering gooey grilled cheese to a more diverse range of neighborhoods throughout the city.

Cafe Momentum is not a normal restaurant. And Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe is not a normal food truck. Both of these organizations have served much more than food, and their partnership is an exciting extension of their individual missions. Together they are fueling good in Dallas.

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