Infused with jazz and soul, this mission-driven jazz club in the Bayview stirs up hope and marketable employment skills in the restaurant industry for at-risk youth.

Old Skool Café is the brainchild of former Los Angeles juvenile-corrections officer Teresa Goines, and offers Bayview youth (16-22 years old) a path to a bright future through job training and mentoring. The creative non-profit takes its young employees and café customers back in time and across cultures with the look and feel of 1940s Harlem, classic jazz, and the culinary concept of international soul food.

At the café, the youth not only learn job skills as hosts, servers, chefs and entertainers, but join a supportive community that keeps them out of trouble. Almost all – 90 percent – earn their high school diplomas, with some going on to college. They learn not just to have dreams of success, but how to pursue them.

Since its inception in 2004, Old Skool Café has gained national and regional media attention, including coverage on “ABC News,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Chew,” and in the San Francisco Chronicle. Goines – Mama T to her young associates – was also named a CNN Hero.

And if it means greeting customers in red-and-black 40’s-style attire, it’s just that much better. The food is fantastic with many menu items based on family recipes. Try Daniel’s Gumbo; Abu’s Peanut Butter Stew; Shrimp ‘n Grits; or Taumoepeau Ota, a Tongan island specialty. The high-back booths and live jazz just add to the fun.

Old Skool Café recently reopened after extensive renovation. It also offers catering and hosts private events, and provides a venue for promising young performers.

So, on your next night out, visit the Old Skool Café, and celebrate Bayview’s spirit, hope and heart.

WHAT: Old Skool Café

WHEN: Tuesday-Saturday, dinner 5-9:30 p.m.

WHERE: 1429 Mendell St., San Francisco, CA 94124

CONNECT: 415-822-8531


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