Remember the days when you used to play freeze tag or hopscotch or jump in the ball pits at your favorite fast food joint after scarfing down a kids meal? The past two years have likely aged many of us a lot faster than we may have hoped, but one pair of imaginative business owners aim to bring back that nostalgic feeling we all seem to clamor for. 

Charlie and Taylor opened Mr. Charlie’s in February with the hope that people will, at least for a moment, return to simpler times upon visiting the restaurant and trying a “Frowny Meal.”

The goal is to “turn that frown upside down” through 100% plant based meals that not only taste good but also help fund a rehabilitation partner program with Echo Park’s Dream Center. 

Through this partnership, Mr. Charlie’s is able to fill staff and managerial positions with folks from the Dream Center recovering from the mishaps of life.

Currently, Mr. Charlie’s employs seven people from the Dream Center, one of whom is Susanna Ramos, the store manager.

Prior to her landing this position, she shared that she was homeless and living at the Dream Center with her two children. Susanna now has her own apartment and aims to help others get back on their feet as she did with assistance from this work program. 

You can find Mr. Charlie’s at 612 N La Brea Ave. in Hancock Park.

This segment aired on 5 Live on June 6, 2022.