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Friday, February 15, 2013 - 1:10pm

Goodwill Opens Augusta Restaurant

A new restaurant opened in Augusta this week, serving more than what the chef calls “new American cuisine with a southern flair.”

It also is a training ground and a source of funding for the Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area.

Edgar’s Grille is run by master chef Marcel Biro and Goodwill, but it’s designed not to look like it.

“It’s very exciting to watch people walk in our front door and their whole mind gets repositioned as to what their perception of Goodwill is all about,” said Goodwill president Jim Stiff.

He said the restaurant is connected to the organization’s culinary school, Helms College. It offers advanced, real-world experience to aspiring chefs once they have completed most of the training. Profits support the school and other Goodwill services, like job training.

“Every Cabernet that I enjoy, every shrimp and grits dish that I devour, those things are basically things that are helping people go to work and develop careers,” Stiff said.

Edgar’s Grille is part of a slew of projects in Augusta, including a retail store, café, jobs center, and a conference center. Stiff said they’re all just new ways to help the disadvantaged and disabled.

“[We] try to be more sophisticated in the ways that we see the needs of people who have barriers to employment and help them to develop their gifts and help them to advance their careers,” he said.

Stiff said Goodwill is planning to expand the culinary school into other career areas by 2016. He said the middle and east Georgia branch is the only one in the Goodwill system with an accredited college and restaurant.

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