Local Restaurant Nurtures Young Employees To Help Community

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Co-owners of The Garden Brunch Cafe in North Nashville said they like to hire young people and nurture them in a way to one day become entrepreneurs.

The success of The Garden Brunch Cafe hasn't been listed on the menu, but it's seen through the actions of the small staff.

Jennifer Carpenter and her husband, Karl, purchased the property ten years ago.

"I was a realtor, houses weren't moving at that time, and we decided to take that little building that we had downtown and make a restaurant. Crazy, crazy people," Carpenter laughed.

With a go-getter personality, Carpenter has intentionally hired young people who want to impact their community.

"To be a part of someone's life when they're young and kind of mold them to be an entrepreneur and just watch them just blossom, it's pretty incredible just to watch," she said.

She has been teaching them her homemade recipes, how to interact with customers, and how to dress for success. Past employees now own and manage restaurants and have also started inspirational YouTube channels.

Montez Mickels, age 21, has worked at the restaurant for five years. The college senior has planned to focus on freelance work after graduating.

"Karl and Jen are perfect people to shadow if you want to own your own business one day. If you want to know how something is supposed to be read, you definitely want to be in this atmosphere," Mickels said.

Mickels father is incarcerated. He said his father was not always a part of his life growing up.

"I like to think that I had a great mother that had kept my eyes on the positive things in life. So I like to think his absence kinda helped me, build me up to not need a crutch to fall on. To be able to be self empowered. To go for things on my own," Mickels said.

Carpenter, who hired Mickels when he was 16-years-old, has watched Mickels grow into a young man.

"He didn't have the best of backgrounds, but he had an incredible mom who was a teen mom. She's absolutely incredible, and just to watch him just makes us proud," Carpenter said.

She said when she purchased the building in 1998, she knew it would be special, but to work with young, creative minds has been a better blessing.

The popular cafe, located at 924 Jefferson Street serves brunch Friday through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

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