The Indigenous cafe using native cuisine to help its chefs fight addiction

Café Gozhóó in Arizona uses the kitchen to teach therapeutic skills to those recovering from substance abuse

Driving along State Route 73 in eastern Arizona, it’s wide open skies and a red rock landscape, dotted with ponderosa pines, juniper bushes, yucca and prickly poppies. Just outside the White Mountain Apache town of Whiteriver, the blue roof of a gas station appears.

Only, it’s not a gas station anymore. The sign that once listed gas prices now welcomes visitors to Café Gozhóó, a new restaurant celebrating Western Apache cuisine. Inside, executive chef Nephi Craig – who is White Mountain Apache and Diné, the Navajo word for the Navajo people – slices corn off freshly roasted cobs to make Apache cornbread, a three sisters salad and soup stock. Chef de cuisine David Williams, who is also White Mountain Apache and Diné, prepares breakfast burritos and cedar-smoked queso fresco.

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