CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A growing non-profit is expanding its reach throughout West Virginia. According to Cheryl Laws, the founder of Pollen8, the organization plans to open “Café Appalachia” in downtown Charleston next year.

The restaurant, which will be located on McFarland Street, will be the nonprofit’s newest venture in their road to helping women in recovery.

“We’re going to create Charleston’s first weekend nightlife for people in recovery,” Laws said.

The venue will encompass the 110 McFarland building and the empty lot beside it. Laws said it will be similar to the original “Café Appalachia” in South Charleston which opened up in 2018.

She said the restaurant is one of the nonprofit’s “social enterprises,” meaning the women behind the counter are recovering from substance abuse.

“Families and people who don’t want to be around alcohol can come and we’ll do open mic, live music events, trivia nights [and] game nights; so, they have an opportunity to socialize safely in the community,” Laws said.

The new restaurant will include an inside area with healthy, grab-and-go food, as well as an outside greenhouse area where people can eat and hangout year round.

Laws said it will be a place for locals to enjoy, but more importantly it will play a pivotal role in the nonprofit’s “ReIntegr8” program. The program encompasses these “social enterprises” in addition to a 24/7 supervised residential facility that provides treatment and a safe, living environment for women in recovery.

“We’re trying to change the narrative around substance abuse,” she said. “It allows the community to come into a space where, you know, the people in there working are in recovery and you can see that someone in recovery is different from someone in active addiction. So, it kind of heals the community at the same time.”

Laws said the Project to open “Café Appalachia” downtown will partially be funded through a $625,000 American Rescue Plan Grant from the City of Charleston.

The anticipated opening of the location is April 1, 2023, however, Laws said, the outside portion won’t fully be completed until Fall 2023.