By Madalyn Watson | Print Managing Editor
Revival Eastside Eatery was transformed into a restaurant from the walls of an old church in East Waco after being empty for years.
The owner, manager and chef of Revival Eastside Eatery, Danielle Young, said Waco is currently in a period of revitalization and rebirth and hopes she can use the business to give back to the individuals in her community as well as to breathe new life and hope into East Waco.
“We see this as an extension of our home and just bringing people in, getting to meet new people and having a place for people to gather,” Young said.
Young was inspired to open her restaurant about two years ago as she and her husband drove around Waco looking for local and healthy dinner options.
“When we moved here, there wasn’t much of a food culture [in Waco] and now that is changing and we’re so excited,” Young said. “There are so many cool things coming to Waco that will offer Baylor students, local Wacoans and tourists different options than we’ve had before.”
Revival is a revitalized building created from the foundation of the former Waco Community Baptist Church.
“When we bought this building it had been vacant for at least seven years, so we wanted to pay tribute to the fact that it was a church and it was a pretty well-known church in East Waco,” Young said.
Broken Arrow, Okla., junior Jada Holliday heard about Revival Eastside Eatery through her connections in her church and her community before she tried their lunch with a couple of friends.
“When you walk into that restaurant you’re getting the community that it’s centered around and how they want to share that with each person that comes into their restaurant,” Holliday said.
Young and her husband have a background in Young Life, so even before opening the restaurant, they were constantly hosting people from the community for meals in their own home.
“I think local businesses in small and large towns are the hidden gems of what makes the community so special,” Holliday said.
Revival has become a hot spot for families gathering after church events and different groups of people coming together and forming a community.
“[I] hope that this can eventually be a training program for at-risk youths to have their first job and to work their way up if they want to,” Young said.
Café Momentum, a restaurant in Dallas, provides a similar experience for young men and women coming out of juvenile facilities, and Young referenced it as a source of her inspiration.
“We already have nonprofits in Waco that do that for teenagers, so what we want to do is — we don’t want to reinvent the wheel — we want to partner with organizations like The Cove and Mission Waco to be able to offer jobs, to offer life skills and to give people a shot at their first job,” Young said.
Café Momentum also aids their staff with life skills and education in addition to job opportunities.
“It’s like a beautiful combination, so as the owner, I developed the recipes. You’ll see me running food, filling up water and busing tables,” Young said. “I do have staff, but I also need to hire more staff.”