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Dallas is every bit generous as it is food obsessed. So it was only a matter of time before these two obsessions collided.

Enter Café Momentum, a not-for-profit restaurant that provides post-release paid internships to juvenile offenders. The program gives these once-wayward kids serious training in a variety of culinary jobs (from back-of-house operations to hands-on experience in the kitchen), as well as life skills (think anger and money management, and communication and leadership skills). Once the interns graduate, they can reenter the community job-ready--and as stronger citizens.

Café Momentum’s newly opened permanent space at Thanks-Giving Square in Downtown (in the past, the program operated as a pop-up at various restaurants around town) will serve dinner Thursday through Saturday. It will also provide a safe haven for its interns to do schoolwork or remove themselves from problematic issues at home.

But there’s more in it for you than goodwill toward mankind: Director chef Chad Houser (formally of Parigi) has created a menu with unusual elements. The shrimp-and-grits beignets ($11) are bite-sized pastries filled with low-country favorites. And the fried chicken with red-eye gravy ($19) is actually smoked chicken that’s battered and lightly fried, giving this plate double the comfort.

Café Momentum, 1510 Pacific St.; 214-303-1234 or

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