+
upworthy
More

This Dallas restaurant is a favorite among foodies. The secret sauce? Its unique staff.

'I was betting my entire career on taking kids out of jail and teaching ‘em to play with knives and fire.'

True
Starbucks Upstanders Season 2

Before 18-year-old Dayton Swift was cooking at one of the hottest restaurants in Dallas, he was in a juvenile detention facility.

Swift became homeless at the age of 15, and as a result, he started to commit felonies — a common pattern for people trying to get off the streets.

"I had to steal. I had to kick into people’s houses," Swift recalls. "I then got up to points where I had to rob people."


Sure enough, he wound up in juvenile detention along with a number of other adolescents who found themselves in the same cycle. However, thanks to chef Chad Houser and his restaurant Café Momentum, Swift was given a chance to escape that cycle through a passion he didn't even know he had.

Dayton Swift at Café Momentum. All photos provided by Starbucks.

Café Momentum is both a restaurant and culinary training facility for former juvenile offenders.

Houser, who now owns Momentum, was once co-owner of the popular Parigi Restaurant and winning a number of accolades when an experience at a juvenile facility took him in an entirely new culinary direction.

He was there teaching the kids how to make ice cream for an upcoming ice cream competition, and he immediately recognized incredible talent in one of them. Simultaneously, he realized that when the boy was released, he'd be heading back to the same neighborhood that had led him to a life of crime.

Houser decided to pivot his successful cooking career toward an endeavor that would give juvenile offenders a shot at living a better life.

Houser teaching his interns.

"I was betting my entire career on taking kids out of jail and teaching ‘em to play with knives and fire," Houser jokes.

The 12-month internship program not only teaches former juvenile offenders how to work in a restaurant, it offers mentorship, job, and life-skill training. It also provides them with an encouraging environment while they're readjusting to life outside a juvenile facility. For Swift, that's one of the best aspects of Momentum.

"It’s a family. I feel like I have the worst day and I can come in here and be crying and like broken down to tears, and they can help me and lift me up," Swift says.

Swift in the restaurant.

The restaurant began as a series of pop-up dinners in 2012 and finally put down brick-and-mortar roots in 2015. It's been a hit with the food-obsessed Dallas clientele ever since.

Beyond making good food, the restaurant is providing stability for its students and keeping them from reoffending.

One of the interns at Café Momentum

While a large percentage of juvenile offenders in Texas wind up in jail, Café Momentum's reduced the rate for its interns to 15%. It just goes to show how life-changing the offer of a different path can be.

Obviously it's made all the difference to Swift.

"I started realizing, like, dang — I love this," Swift says. "Even though I get burns and grease marks from all the cooking, I just love. I love it."

Success stories like Swift's are why Houser believes Momentum's mission could have a lasting effect on Dallas as a whole.

"We have kids who aren’t just providing stabilization for themselves but for their entire household. That’s breaking generational cycles, which becomes transformative for our community and our society."

Learn more about Café Momentum's work here:

He’s teaching these young people skills that will make them want to stay out of juvenile detention.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less

Kellogg's CEO tells people to eat cereal to save money

It doesn't matter if you're a single adult or married with children, there's nothing quite like having cereal for dinner or a late night snack once in a while.

Something about it feels nostalgic but it's also really easy to fall back on when you're too exhausted to cook a full meal. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a bowl of cereal for a meal outside of breakfast. You're feeding yourself or your family a food that contains some of the vitamins a body needs.

Maybe that's the thought process Kellogg's CEO Gary Pilnick was going with when he unintentionally sparked some serious backlash. Pilnick was interviewed by CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" discussing the cereal giant's new commercial featuring Tony the Tiger. The commercial itself isn't really the problem. It features a mom holding a box of cereal with kids excitedly awaiting their cereal for dinner chanting along with Tony the Tiger's call to eat the sweet meal.

The backlash came followeing Pilnick's comments about why his company felt the need to create a commercial advocating families eating cereal for diner.

Keep ReadingShow less


We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Monica Lewinsky reclaims the office power suit in new voting campaign

The activist teamed with apparel brand Reformation to combat voter frustration in a fabulous way.

Lewinsky partnered with Reformation for their "You've Got The Power" voting campaign

Monica Lewinsky knows a thing or two about reinvention.

The former White House intern became the source of media obsession after her affair with former President Bill Clinton become public. It solidified her place in history against her will, but through her actions since, Lewinsky has transformed her public persona into a feminist icon and champion of a powerful anti-bullying campaign.

Now, the 50-year-old Lewinsky is lending her household name to sustainable fashion brand Reformation and Vote.org in hopes to encourage people to vote this year.
Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Don't worry, Wendy's isn't raising prices during the busiest times. But changes are coming.

People were very upset after hearing that surge pricing may come to the local drive-thru.

A combo meal from Wendy's.

In a world where prices are continuously increasing, prominent companies are turning to surge pricing to raise prices even further during peak demand times. Uber charges people more for a ride when demand is high. Hotels have been changing prices based on demand for years and Amazon uses AI to keep prices constantly in flux.

Recently, Ticketmaster, known for charging high fees, has been charging customers even more for tickets as demand rises.

On Monday, February 26, news reports began circulating that Wendy’s, America's 5th most popular fast-food chain, would implement dynamic pricing at its restaurants. Many assumed that meant a Dave’s Double burger would cost an extra $3 during dinner time or medium fries would cost an extra buck during the lunch rush.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

What is in its 'golden age' but not enough people know about it?

There's so much good out there if you know where to look.

Canva

From astronomy to knitting, some fields of human endeavor are having a heyday.

When you peruse the news headlines or dive into discussions on current events on social media, it's pretty easy to feel despondent. Doom and gloom sells, unfortunately, and our natural negativity bias that's meant to protect us can be overworked by a 24/7 bombardment of humanity's challenges.

There is an anecdote to all of that, though: Curating and cultivating the good. Sometimes it's just knowing where to look to find examples of problems being solved, discoveries being made, innovation taking huge leaps and other evidence that humans are moving our collective life forward in incredible ways.

Someone on Reddit asked, "What is currently in its 'Golden age,' but not enough people know about it?" and thousands of people responded. Reading through the answers is an enlightening and uplifting glimpse of things we might not personally be involved with but are happy to see having a heyday. Like, who wouldn't like to know that we're in a golden age of astronomy and paleontology. Space and dinosaurs? It's like realizing our 5-year-old selves' ideal future.

Keep ReadingShow less