Kristi Nelson, NBC 5 News
A Fort Worth mother and son are the force behind Bella Cafe but their ventures create opportunities for a large extended family of employees.
18-month-old Annabella holds on tight as her grandmother Janet gives her a tour of the bistro that she's named after.
Bella Cafe recently opened inside Catholic Charities in South Fort Worth. There are daily specials but one dish in particular, is well known.
"The chicken salad is all white meat chicken, its hormone free, it's Gluten free," Executive Chef Janet Capua said. "So it's a fairly healthy chicken salad and it's tasty. People seem to like it."
Capua is the Executive Chef but her workers know her by another name.
"We call her Mom," cook Martin Scott said. "Because that's what she is to us."
Along with the chicken salad, Bella Cafe serves up second chances. Martin Scott was homeless when he first started years ago... working here changed his life.
"And when I first started, I was more meek, shy, behind the scenes," Scott said. "And now I'm more friendly. You get to meet a lot of different people. They don't judge you for your past so it gives you like 'a fresh start'."
Capua's "birth" son Carlo runs the business end of the cafe.
"Many of our folks, they've either spent time incarcerated or they've been homeless at some point and really given up," said owner/g.m. Carlo Capua. "And we've seen some people really discover talents. Whether it was arranging a platter or making lasagna or something as simple as using the cash register and greeting customers with a smile."
Bella Cafe recently moved into Catholic Charities after years at a location across town.
"I would say Catholic Charities is all about second chances, not providing people with a hand out, but providing them with a way out," said Katelin Cortney, director of public relations at Catholic Charities Fort Worth. "So Bella's model of actually employing people who need that second chance really aligns with our mission to give people that second chance."
Bella Cafe was known as Z's Cafe in Fort Worth's museum district. The restaurant closed because of parking issues, but the Capuas still produce food at that location.
The address may have changed but not the eatery's mission.
"Personally it's great to be your own boss and employ and offer a chance for people who many other people probably would have turned down," Carlo Capua said.
"No one wants to give them an opportunity," Janet Capua said. "No one wants to give them a chance. And they are wonderful! You should see them go."
Click on this sentence for a link to Bella Cafe. It is located at 249 Thornhill Drive in Fort Worth.