There’s a new café in Newark that provides a welcoming space to New Jersey’s deaf and hard of hearing community. It’s called Deaf’s Delight Café. According to their website, it is the first deaf restaurant in the Tri-state area.

Owner Sandra Rivers told WABC 7 New York, "I'm trying to bring two worlds together. I want the hearing community to realize that the deaf community is here."

The café’s website, which you can see here, describes its mission as “to help our deaf community by spreading awareness, educating and creating new economic and social opportunities for a community who is way too often overlooked and misunderstood. We seek to honor them by creating an environment where they can gather, socialize and enjoy our delicious delights in a place that feels like home.”

The road to opening the café has not been easy for Rivers. Before she could even open the doors, thieves broke in and stole all her equipment, signs, clocks, even instructional signs for sign language. She lost her life savings, about $90,000 in the theft. She didn’t let that deter her, as her goal was to honor her parents — her mother was deaf and her father was mute.

Then the pandemic hit and she didn’t qualify for any assistance since she hadn’t been able to open on time. Those obstacles didn’t stop her, however, and now the restaurant is open.

Rivers has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the café get on its feet, which you can check out here. The restaurant is located at 2 Treat Place in Newark.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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