Catholic Charities Closes Binghamton Cafe
A Binghamton restaurant which provided employment to people with mental health needs for nearly three decades has been closed.
Portfolio's Cafe, which was operated by Catholic Charities of Broome County, ceased operations at 2 p.m. August 28.
The restaurant at 137 Washington Street opened in March 1987. According to the Catholic Charities website, the cafe had employed more than 300 people.
Many of those who gained experience at Portfolio's later went on to other employment in Broome County, according to Catholic Charities.
Signs posted at the cafe early in the afternoon announced the restaurant would close its doors "after 28 years of service."
Catholic Charities executive director Lori Accardi said the cafe initially was established with the expectation it could become self-sufficient. But, she said, it had been run at a deficit for many years.
Accardi said efforts to make the operation viable were unsuccessful. She said the cafe program had been a "labor of love" which had helped many people over the years.
Some restaurant patrons said they were surprised by the closing. One man who has had artwork displayed in the cafe said employees received two weeks' notice about the move. He said he had hoped the decision to shut down the restaurant could be reversed.