Usually it’s a restaurant’s food or ambiance that draws diners, but Spencer Lindsay hopes his staff at the new Jehovah’s Grill and Coffee House is part of why people come.
His employees, like Lindsay, are former convicts.
“Jobs are so difficult for these guys to get that … have felony backgrounds,” he says. “It’s going to be a good starting place for them.”
The restaurant, which will have a grand opening on Sunday, will be at 812 S. Oliver in association with the Word of Life Church South.
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Lindsay started the Working Men of Christ Ministries as a prison ministry in 2011.
He was in prison from 2009 to 2011 for “burglary, I believe.”
Lindsay says it’s hard to keep track.
“I’ve been several times before that.”
It was while Lindsay was in prison that he decided to start the ministry.
“I had a vision from God in prison.”
After getting out, he says he then did Bible studies through correspondence with prisoners and went on to create discipleship homes, such as the House of Jeremiah in Wichita and the House of Joshua in Topeka, to help former prisoners transition to living outside of prison.
“It’s just … life changing to be able to do … what God has purposed me to do, and that is to help others incarcerated,” Lindsay says. “It’s just a blessing in and out.”
He’s unabashed about his fervor for what he’s doing.
“I’m just giving it to you right out of my heart.”
Lindsay also is enthusiastic about food.
He says he’s been a chef for 20 years, including three at YaYa’s EuroBistro.
“It was always a passion of mine.”
Initially, Jehovah’s Grill will be open Wednesdays through Sundays. There will be breakfast and lunch from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.
“We’re going to do some gourmet meals,” Lindsay says. “Affordable gourmet meals.”
He says he’s not concerned that some people may not want to go to a restaurant run by former convicts.
“Our main focus would be those of the faith,” he says.
“God has a great plan for men and women who change their lives and choose him,” Lindsay says. “He does all the bidding and helping and calling for us. All we have to do is stand and be who God has made us to be.”