Wrongfully Serving Time to Serving Customers In Their Own Restaurant
It never ceases to amaze me how the restaurant industry draws people into its grasp. In the case of these two Brooklyn buddies, freedom led them to a fresh start in an industry they had little experience in.
New Yorker’s Derrick Hamilton and Shabaka Shakur wrongfully convicted of crimes they didn’t commit met in prison. Both were victims of a disgraced former NYPD detective Louis Scarcella. He allegedly coerced witnesses, fabricated evidence and concealed proof of the defendant’s’ innocence.
They became part of a group of self-taught lawyers who called themselves “the actual innocence team,” dedicated to fighting for their freedom and won.
Hamilton was convicted of murder in 1991, spent 20 years in prison, and was released in 2011, before being officially exonerated in 2015. Shakur did a 27-year stretch and was released in 2015 when a judge ordered a retrial of his case and the Brooklyn district attorney moved to dismiss his indictment.
After proving their innocence they have now set their sights on restaurant entrepreneurship.
The only experience they had in food service was working in a prison commissary and now they own a restaurant, Brownstone, in Brooklyn.
“We never ran away from Brooklyn because of what happened,” says Hamilton. “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
They have made a commitment to helping ex-cons get jobs.
Three are currently employed at the eatery.
“We want to give these guys an opportunity. They’ve been our hardest workers,” says Hamilton.
Shakur says. “One of the goals was to show people that we weren’t liabilities, we were assets. We could survive out here, do legitimate work, and thrive.”
Brownstone’s serves burgers, steaks & pasta in a casual eatery accented with natural stone.
I certainly admire Hamilton and Shakur! Taking on such a difficult task to start and run a restaurant is a dream many have but few pursue. Throw in an unjust conviction and years of prison I would think starting a business let alone a restaurant would be the last thing they would want to do but they’re not like most people!
When I read about their determination to prove their innocence it was no surprise took on this business and prove they have what it takes.
If you’re wanting to start a restaurant or any business for that matter you can’t be a person who gives up easily. You have to believe in yourself and do whatever it takes to succeed.
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.-Henry Ford
It starts with doing the RIGHT things from the very beginning!
There is so much information on the internet!
There are hundreds of how-to books!
It’s hard to know where to start!
For more information on starting a restaurant please start here!