October 13, 2022

Manny’s Experience at Craft & Vallata Restaurant in NYC A Recipe for Success

Manny’s Experience at Craft & Vallata Restaurant in NYC A Recipe for Success
A young man wearing a blue shirt that says "Valatta" on it is shown standing in front of restaurant with an awning that displays the word "Craft" on it.
Manny in front of Craft & Vallata Restaurant.

Emmanuel, who goes by the name “Manny” started attending the League and Education Treatment Center (LETC’s) prevocational program in February of 2008. Throughout his years, Manny has demonstrated an eagerness to learn and achieve. His attendance has always been perfect, and he’s worked hard to meet his goal of joining the workforce.

According to Linton Thompson, DSP Vocational Specialist, “Over the years, I've seen Emmanuel progress from timid to confident in expressing his wants and needs. He works hard every day to gain relevant knowledge and learn skills that will help him succeed at work and in life.”

In April 2022, Manny’s goal of joining the workforce became a reality when he was hired at Craft & Vallata Restaurant in the position of Polisher. As a polisher, Manny washes and polishes glassware and cutlery, and also restocks the wait stations and bar.

According to John Gargano, the former General Manager of Craft & Vallata, he is pleased with what Manny brings to the job. “Manny has brought humility to an environment that is fast-paced, often impersonal, and sometimes hectic. He always has a great attitude and chooses to be positive.”

When asked how he would describe Manny in 3 words, John said, “Reliable, Appreciative, Humble.” Natalie Grindstaff, Director of Restaurants, adds that “he also has a great sense of humor.” When asked what he enjoys most about his job, Manny says it’s “working with my team.” Add team-player to the list of positive attributes that have made Manny so successful!

John also believes that Manny will continue to progress, saying, “We plan to move Manny into a position that works closely with our Culinary Team.”

The League Education and Treatment Center (LETC) is a Brooklyn-based OPWDD service provider that offers employment and pre-vocational services to people with developmental and other disabilities.  They are incredibly proud of the partnership they have developed with Craft & Vallata Restaurant in New York City because they know that the value of work extends beyond a paycheck and results in increased self-esteem, a sense of purpose and identity, and expanded community, not only for the employees hired through LETC but for all their employees. 

The relationship that LETC has forged with Craft & Vallata Restaurant has been a true recipe for success in promoting workplace diversity. It’s not only benefitted Manny but the staff and patrons at Craft & Vallata.