Every restaurant makes it a priority to keep their customers happy. They can achieve this by serving great food, creating an inviting atmosphere, and providing top-quality service. At Social OTR, looking out for the people back in the kitchen is equally as important.
The non-profit restaurant opened in February 2019. General Manager Anthony Berin sums up its enticing mission best.
“The intention is to 1) break the minimum wage cycle, and 2) connect folks who are underemployed with jobs in the food and beverage industry that are abundant right now. Because the industry has a hard time finding skilled employees right now," he says.
Social OTR is part of the Corporation for Findlay Market, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They also partner with CityLink Center, which is a cooperative, social services model on the West End. The restaurant’s back of house is staffed from the Findlay Culinary Training internship program organized with CityLink to work under a professional chef and continue their culinary education with experience in the restaurant.
GET WITH THE PROGRAM
The internship is an incredible opportunity for the cooks at OTR; it's offered to individuals who have previous criminal records, disadvantaged education or income levels, and people who've been hit by hard times, making it more difficult to find jobs.
The program is a total of 16 weeks. Four weeks are dedicated to studying culinary arts in a lab and classroom. Students learn significant life skills during this phase, such as conflict resolution and problem solving. The following 12 weeks of the program involve hands-on learning in an internship in Social OTR’s kitchen.
The work doesn’t stop after the internship, though. When completed, the apprentices are provided assistance with employment placement to further their careers. There aren’t many workforce models quite like Social OTR’s. It's a full-circle training program that prepares people for what to expect in the restaurant business, then puts their acquired skills to good use.
I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING
When it comes to the food, expect an assortment of small plates and communal dining at its finest.
“The menu takes cues from all over the world. It’s just a unique melding of flavors and technique that are much like our community, if you will,” says Berin.
There is also a special back space of the restaurant that can be accessed from Campbell Street known as The Alley at Social. It stays open a little later than the front of the restaurant, and it’s where you’ll find their “513 Happy Hour” from 4 PM-6 PM. It includes $5 house wines, $1 oysters, and $3 draft beers. (Hence the 5-1-3)
Social OTR provides a fun night out, high-end cuisine, and, perhaps most importantly, the compelling recognition that you’re helping someone advance their career who might otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance.
- - -
Social OTR is located at 1819 Elm Street (45202). Dinner service is from 5 PM-10 PM Tuesday-Thursday, 5 PM-11 PM Friday & Saturday, and 5 PM-9 PM on Sunday. "The Alley at Social” in the back is open 4 PM-12 AM Tuesday-Saturday and 4 PM-10 PM Sunday.