Grilled cheese cafe to serve up second chance

People who have prison records can have a hard time finding work once they get out. But a former attorney hopes to open a café in the Longfellow neighborhood to make sure they are "all square" with their community.

- People who have prison records can have a hard time finding work once they get out. But a former attorney hopes to open a café in the Longfellow neighborhood to make sure they are "all square" with their community.

For most of Emily Turner's life, grilled cheese sandwiches have melted her heart.

But now, she hopes her favorite comfort food will help former felons get a second chance.

"There's something very equalizing about let’s just sit down and have a grilled cheese. It’s simple and I'm hoping that simple contrasts with the very complex nature of the issue," Turner said.

While working as an attorney for the Department of Housing, Turner saw firsthand how difficult it was for people with criminal records to find housing and jobs.

So she cooked up a plan to open a gourmet grilled cheese shop where she could focus on hiring people who'd been formerly incarcerated, called "All Square" and not just because of the shape of the sandwiches.

"We believe people are all square after they serve their time and deserve a fair shake," Turner said.

She started a Kickstarter campaign to finance her vision and so far she's raised about $5,000 of her $50,000 goal.

"It just felt like I needed to do something. You can't just look away from these issues and it really didn't feel like I was doing enough," Turner said.

It’s funny to think something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich could do so much good for so many, but Turner says it’s time for her to step up to the plate.

"For now, really excited about getting the brick and mortar part up and getting going," Turner said.

Her crowdfunding campaign runs through Oct. 20. If she reaches her goal, she plans to open All Square next spring.


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