The After 26 Depot is a very special restaurant in Cadillac with a unique mission to employ developmentally disabled & cognitively impaired adults within their respective communities.
After a 6-years long community-wide movement the Depot doors opened in June of 2013. Through the pandemic they quickly adapted and safely reinvented aspects of their dining operations to include a streamlined take-out service that helped our community through a very tough time. The Depot is a favorite for locals and visitors in the summertime; with their annual music festival overlooking Lake Cadillac as well as an outdoor patio for lakeside dining through the warmer months of the year.
It is for these reasons and more that The After 26 Depot was recognized as one of 8 inspirational stories from across the state at the Pure Michigan Conference on Tourism in April 2022.
“The After 26 is extremely humbled by this nomination! Thank you to the Cadillac Area Visitor’s Bureau for helping us spread the word and educate individuals about our project. The continued support from our community is abundant and without that support we would not be here today, Giving our employees a place to feel accepted, a place where they have a sense of belonging and letting them continue to have meaningful employment is so heartwarming!” said Kelly Hondorp, General Manager.
On hand representing After 26 at the dinner was their General Manager, Kelly Hondorp, project worker Michael Hughes and his mother Lyn.
Another honoree at the dinner, Chef Jenna Arcidiacono felt compelled to visit the restaurant after being moved by the story. “At last nights awards, we were so incredibly inspired by this story at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference so we decided they were the perfect place eat and tip back on the way back home! Please consider visiting this gem when you are in Cadillac! We have officially tipped $50,000 back into the community!” Arcidiacono owns Amore Trattoria Italiana in Comstock Park and is known for paying it forward by tipping big on her visits to other restaurants.
In Michigan, at the age of 26, adults with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairment can no longer attend public schools; they age out of the system. For these individuals, this is a challenging and confusing time, suddenly, there is a huge void in their life, and they have nothing to do. The goal of The After 26 Depot was to open a restaurant to help fill that void and provide jobs in the greater Cadillac community and their model has proven that when given a chance, adults with disabilities can perform effectively in the workplace. You can learn more about the restaurant in the clip below!