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Bosque Brewing to open pizzeria, employ developmentally disabled individuals

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This location in Legacy at Journal Center is slated to become the home of Restoration Pizza By Bosque Brewing Co. It is expected to open by the end of the year. (Courtesy of Jotham Michnovicz)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bosque Brewing Co. will soon expand its brand to include a pizza joint that will offer job opportunities to people with developmental and cognitive disabilities.

The 3,400-square-foot property at Legacy at Journal Center, which also houses Cabela’s, will serve pizza, breadsticks and salads, as well as Bosque’s craft beers. The brewery is working on logos and branding and an interior concept for the pizzeria.

Bosque has partnered with consultant Nathan Winham and Adelante Development Center, nonprofit in New Mexico that supports people with mental and physical disabilities, seniors and disadvantaged populations. The tentative name is Restoration Pizza by Bosque Brewing Co., and it is to open by the end of this year.

“They’ll have job coaches onsite, but we will be able to hire somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 70 percent of ‘differently-able’ individuals so that we can provide fair wages and good jobs for people that wouldn’t otherwise have opportunities like that,” said Jotham Michnovicz, director of operations and co-owner of Bosque Brewing. “We’re excited about it.”

Winham, who moved to Albuquerque about five years ago, previously worked with special needs individuals in Arkansas. After getting a degree in recreational thereapy, he brought programs to Arkansas such as Project Search and Access Life, which helps people between the ages of 18 and 35 who have cognitive and emotional issues. He also developed partnerships with local businesses in Arkansas to employ and provide job training to people with disabilities.

About a year and a half ago, Winham and Gabe Jensen, Bosque managing director and co-owner, discussed a business plan that would incorporate individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities.

“The cool thing about it was employing individuals with disabilities by empowering those individuals and giving them more opportunities than what they have because here some of the opportunities are not ideal,” Winham said. “By having a normal job, by empowering somebody to have a competitive, integrative job with onsite job training is essential for individuals with disabilities as well as other handicaps so I posed that to Gabe and he was like ‘let’s figure (it) out, let’s get this kind of rolling’ and so that being said, Restoration Pizza, or this idea of having this pizza brewpub came to fruition.”

“We feel that we can make a difference in the city by not only providing these individuals onsite job training but also transferable job skills that they can take other places as well,” Winham said.

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