The former gangbangers, dropouts and others who've hit rock bottom do it all. They built the block-long complex that's their bay-front home. They counsel and train one another and run a dozen successful businesses, including the largest moving company in Northern California, a trendy bookstore-cafe, a first-class catering company and the exceptional Delancey Street Restaurant.
When I think of the restaurant, I envision myself sitting on its patio at night, with the twinkling lights of the Bay Bridge just over my dinner companion's shoulder. I hear the murmur of conversation from other tables and inhale the scent of garlic rising from my Creole gumbo. It's easy to forget where I am until a meticulously groomed waiter, in tailored black pants and white long-sleeved shirt, approaches to refill my water glass, and I catch a glimpse of a jailhouse tattoo edging out from under his shirt cuff.
But the image I see most clearly when I think of Delancey Street Restaurant is the face of my daughter, Kim: strong, happy, healthy and beautiful, an accomplished executive, an extraordinary wife and mother. Kim was a Delancey Street resident for 10 years.