Located in South Charleston, West Virginia, the former church turned restaurant has a funky, yet calming vibe. Twinkle lights and mismatched dining room sets dot the space. For $8 to $10 a plate, diners can enjoy a locally–sourced meal.
The menu today is apple sage pork tips, spiralized zucchini (or “zoodles”), roasted broccoli, and a salad of spinach grown just a few miles away.
Autumn McCraw helped prepare today’s meal. The 35–year–old Charleston resident sports a maroon apron and greets every customer with a smile. Her days here typically start around 8 a.m.
“I start my tasks as the barista here and making coffee, make sure the tea’s prepared. I also try my best to make the desserts,” she says. “It’s something that I really like to do.”
But this cafe is more than just a job. It’s a second chance. McCraw heard about Cafe Appalachia while participating in long-term addiction recovery treatment. “As addicts in society we’re shunned,” she says. “To know that the community is supporting me and having my back is such an essential part of my recovery.”
Almost everyone who works at Cafe Appalachia is in recovery and McCraw says being part of a team that understands what that means and can support her has been a game-changer. “If I’m struggling, if it happens to be one of those days, you know, I have a whole support system here that understands,” she said.