Minneapolis restaurant opens with all formerly incarcerated employees

- It’s about more than just serving up good food for a new grilled cheese restaurant in Minneapolis.

The owners of All Square hope that with each grilled cheese they serve, barriers will be broken down.

The people cooking up grilled cheese inside the restaurant - and even some that are on the board - are people that are formerly incarcerated.

They hope that with this grand opening, they will be able to change the way people think about those with a criminal background.

Grilled cheese is one of America’s favorite comfort foods and it’s all you’ll find on the menu at All Square in Minneapolis. What’s unique about All Square is about so much more than just cheese and bread.

“Those who have paid their debts to society are all square, and free to move forward, and not just a job, and vibrant life and a career, so were trying to use our social capital to support people in getting there,” said Emily Turner, the owner of All Square.

All Square is built on the premise of employing, empowering and investing in those that have formerly been incarcerated.

“When they’re in here people know that they have a record and that’s a big deal. That takes a lot of courage, a lot of strength,” Turner said.

The employees and customers are finding common ground through craft grilled cheese.

“It’s kind of an equalizing thing, right?” Turner said. “I don’t know anyone that can’t enjoy a grilled cheese and so much of this is about building a space where all of us from diverging viewpoints, diverging backgrounds and perspectives can enjoy something that everyone loves, and talk about some important things, and hopefully generate some change.”

Through opportunity and the All Square Institute, Emily hopes to break down the social stigma.

“It’s a professional development institute,” Turner said. “We’re focusing in on law and entrepreneurship.”

“We’re generating leaders, were trying to change the narrative,” she added.

Turner is doing so using a little comfort food, a little bread and a lot of cheese.

If you're really into grilled cheese, you can get a lifetime membership. By paying $1,000 bucks, you get free grilled cheese for life.

The applications for the Institute re-open in January of 2019. All Square is located at 4047 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis.

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