There’s no other restaurant in Lisbon quite like É Um Restaurante, whose name translates to “It’s a Restaurant.”
Its, goal, like that of other restaurants, is to attract diners by offering delicious fare in a welcoming setting. But to the difference of those other eateries, at É Um Restaurante, that delicious fare is being prepared by and that welcome rolled out by people who have experienced homelessness.
A project of Crescer Na Maior - Associação de Intervenção Comunitária, the new restaurant recently opened its doors, serving a menu designed by Brazillian-born chef Nuno Bergonse. The goal, beyond giving diners a memorable meal, is to foster inclusion for those who have experienced homelessness by offering an opportunity for participation in a socially valued activity.
Founded in 2001, Crescer works to integrate vulnerable populations—including sex workers, the homeless, and asylum seekers—into their communities and to extend to them the benefits of health and social resources from which they might be excluded. É Um Restaurante follows on Crescer’s É Uma Casa, É Uma Vida, and É Uma Rua projects.
A 2019 Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) grant helped equip É Um Restaurante. SNF has recently provided support for other projects that use good food as a vehicle for social inclusion and advancement.
The Marseilles-based Women & Top Chefs project, the brainchild of one of the most prolifically Michelin starred chefs in the world, empowers women to attain economic self-sufficiency by training with chefs in elite kitchens. And Schedia Home, opened this summer in Athens, trains older adults who have experienced homelessness to prepare a menu crafted by the first Greek chef to be awarded a Michelin star.