Unique Food Handlers Cafe combines quality food and training

The former site of Chris’ Down Home Soul Food in San Pablo is undergoing a resurgence with the opening of the Food Handlers Cafe, a unique new restaurant that offers American cuisine with a Southern flair.

The Food Handlers Cafe at 1260 Rumrill Blvd. celebrated its grand opening and ribbon cutting event this week. The restaurant serves up American style food with a Southern comfort food flavor, specializing in chicken and waffles, grits, and many other signature Southern dishes.

In addition, local diners are pleased to learn that longtime Chef Lucas Davis, who had worked for 32 years at the restaurant site, has returned to cook for Food Handlers Cafe.

The eatery, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, opened just six days ago and was already packed with customers Tuesday at lunch hour.

The restaurant is operated by Rauch Grant, a certified Servsafe instructor and registered Servsafe examination proctor. Along with the new restaurant venture, Grant has operated a program by the same name that provides online training and exams for food protection management certifications, which are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-Conference for Food Protection (CFP).

In the near future, Grant plans to have food safety trainees studying their craft in his restaurant.

Grant has had many years to hone his experience in food service. After working for various hotels in San Francisco, he became a production supervisor for about a decade with the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

He has owned restaurants in the past, but he says combining his passions into a brick-and-mortar concept is a dream realized.

Grant says his strict, diligent training regimen will ensure the Food Handlers Cafe lives up to its name.

“I’m going to make sure everyone is trained; I’ll certify my waitresses, dishwashers, my cooks, will all be certified ServSafe so they can understand where I’m coming from,” Grant said.

Grant say he aims to eventually franchise the Food Handlers Cafe, spreading his message about the importance of food safety.