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Osage Cafe

Osage Cafe


To employ underserved young adults and train them with skills to be successful within the culinary industry.


1099 Osage Street Denver, CO 80204 (Mariposa District)

Launch Year



The Osage Café is a social enterprise café and training program for underserved youth interested in careers in the culinary industry. The Osage Café is a program

of Youth Employment Academy (YEA), a nonprofit dedicated to serving young adults in breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Denver by gaining stability through education, arts and technology, and employment training.

Youth in the program first participate in a 48-hour classroom-based curriculum that covers knife skills, recipe reading, measuring techniques, food safety, sanitation, and nutrition and receive the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe certification. Next, youth complete a 120-hour internship, building practical front- and back-of-house skills in an on-the-job training setting. Skills covered include serving, point of sales, food prep, line cooking, dishwashing, and superior customer service. Youth learn from an Executive Chef who manages the kitchen, ensures food quality, and offers mentorship to aspiring chefs. At the completion of their internship, Osage Café helps youth find placements in permanent jobs or additional post-secondary training. The Café is certified as a green business by the City of Denver strives to operate sustainably for the environment. It is open to the public Monday-Friday from 7:30-2:00 and serves breakfast and lunch.

  1. Offer youth the foundational knowledge and certification required to succeed in the culinary industry. 
  2. Offer a safe and supportive environment for youth to explore their professional interests and plan their next career steps. 
  3. Provide supplemental income to youth in the internship program. 
  4. Operate a financially and environmentally sustainable café with high-quality and nutritious food offerings. 
  5. Offer cooking and nutrition classes to the Mariposa community. 

Outside of regular operating hours, youth have access to further learning and can access Osage Cafe’s kitchen as a commissary kitchen. The Osage Café will soon extend the scope of its internship training to include preparing grab-and-go items for grocery stores and nonperishable items
such as pickles, salsas, and sauces. The Café will also expand programming available to youth who have completed the training program.