LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – A well-known Lexington restaurant continues to rise in the national spotlight not only because of its food, but its inspirational mission.
DV8 Kitchen was featured in the New York Times back in July, then on Sunday the restaurant was featured on the NBC Nightly News.
@DV8Kitchen has become a household name in Lexington, and by tonight, ppl across the country will learn about this restaurant's unique mission. @NBCNightlyNews will air a story on the restaurant that's giving a second chance to employees in substance abuse recovery. @LEX18News pic.twitter.com/OJs4PPVCOf
— Mike Valente (@ValenteLEX18) September 30, 2018
The owners keep standards high at their establishment, expecting a 20 percent better performance than their competitors.
“When our new staff first hears that, I think they are a little intimidated, but I think everyone in recovery has an amazing capacity for excellence,” said Co-Owner Rob Perez.
Perez didn’t expect the restaurant to flourish like it has. Last September, Rob and his wife Diane opened DV8 with the goal of serving up life-changing food. Now more than a year later, 23 of 26 employees are in active recovery.
“When they perform, you can just see in their posture, in their eye contact, in their voice inflection. I mean, they are going out and giving service as opposed to being kind of passive and in the back,” said Perez.
“We’re greeting the guests, we’re directly engaging people, even strangers. It’s a way for us to build confidence, it’s a way for us to learn bonds of trust,” said Employee Dan Rison.
29-year-old Rison once struggled with opioid abuse, but he’s now clean. He hopes the national spotlight on the kitchen can inspire others to seek recovery and turn away from their past lifestyle.
“We constantly hear about the problem…what we don’t hear a lot about is the solution,” said Rison.