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First Look: Work Options for Women Now Pouring at Cafe United

Coffee's on at Cafe United, in the new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change. This is the latest open-to-the-public spot run by Work Options for Women, a local nonprofit that trains at-risk women (and men) for careers in the food-service industry. WOW already runs the cafeteria at the Denver Department of Human Services, at 1200 Federal Boulevard, giving its clients real on-the-job training. And it also operates Cafe Options, a charming breakfast/lunch cafe at 1650 Curtis Street that's been wowing downtown diners for a half-dozen years.

All three give diners a real taste of what a smart program can do to help cook up career opportunities...and good food.

See also: Work Options for Women Brewing Up a Barista Station -- and You Can Help

While the focus at Cafe Options is on fresh pastries, salads and sandwiches all prepared with the ovens and grills there, Cafe United is doing cold food only -- as well as hot coffee made at the new barista station that a crowdfunding campaign helped pay for. "Cold prep is challenging, but I think we've come up with a pretty interesting menu, one really focused on what we can produce there," says Catherine Henry, executive director of Work Options for Women.

And that's not the only innovation at Cafe United. The facility is running coffee service for the building, and also caters the meeting space that Mile High makes available to the community. Most important, Cafe United was designed as a place where WOW can prepare future supervisors for more lucrative jobs in the industry. "We now offer some advanced training courses to our graduates," Henry explains. "At Cafe United, it's a little smaller, a little slower -- there are only 160 people in the building -- and that really gives them a chance to practice."

Want to catch WOW in action? Cafe United is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday. And in the meantime, keep reading for more photos of Cafe United.

Keep reading for more photos of the food at Cafe United.

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