The Union Project has gone through many changes since it began breathing life into the former Union Baptist Church in 2001. (The photo, by my colleague Darrell Sapp, was taken during work on its roof last year.)
One of its peskier transitions has been the interval between one and then another entrepreneur to run the cafe inside the Negley Avenue entrance. The Union Projects sits at the corner with Stanton Avenue in Highland Park.
Its executive director Jeffrey Dorsey let me know recently that, “after more then two years we found a great partner.”
For more than two years, the cafe area has been closed but now Ola Appetite Cafe is open Monday-Friday 8a-3p and Saturday 8a-5p.
Owner Olafemi Mandley’s daily menu of sandwiches, soups and pastries are made fresh from whole ingredients, and she is now taking orders for home-made pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple pies for the holiday season.
Union Project has been an inspiring story as it has unfolded over the past 10 years. It shows what a bunch of young people with a great vision can achieve, no matter how much something might cost (because they convinced a benefactor) and no matter how much work it takes (because they got really really creative in solving problems.)
You can read my 2009 interpretation of its inspiring story here. Better yet, visit and see for yourself.