Long Island restaurant with all-special needs staff serves great food, opportunity

OLD BETHPAGE, Long Island (WABC) -- A new cafe now open in Nassau County is offering up something new and helping out the special needs community.

Terry's Cafe, a take-out restaurant in Old Bethpage, is operated solely by people with special needs. And it's not just serving up good food, but it also gives its employees a new chance at independence.

"I like working here," East Meadow resident Amy Chan said. "It makes me feel independent."

Terry's Cafe, run through Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE), dishes up breakfast and lunch every day for hundreds of the center's employees and clients. It recently received its certification from the Nassau County Department of Health and passed inspection with a perfect score, meaning Terry's Cafe can now serve to anyone.

"It was everything we worked for," supervisor Susan Narbutt said. "Everything we came in for every morning, every afternoon, why we stayed, why we made the extra effort to make everything perfect. And then it was recognized."

The goal is to get people who live and work around Bethpage to order from Terry's Cafe, and just this week, they put themselves up on GrubHub.

"It makes us feel really good to have a lot of customers and people who come out here to appreciate us," East Northport resident Katie Gross said.

The workers are paid an hourly wage, and supervisors hope the training will help them get out into the community.

"The best thing we can do is have them be able to go out and get a job anywhere in the food service industry," FREE's Greg Varro said.

And that's an exciting prospect for employees.

"For the future, I want to get a job in the kitchen," Glen Cove resident Enrique Ceballos said.

In the meantime, they're simly hoping to fill your order. And don't forget the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
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