A new restaurant in Regina has made a point of hiring staff who are recovering from addiction as a way of fighting the stigma they may face in the workplace.

Kevin Foley worked at Regina’s Nicky’s Cafe for decades and decided to open a second location in nearby Emerald Park, Sask., where he hires people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Foley told CTV News Channel the idea stems from his own experience battling addiction and noticing how recovering addicts sometimes feel compelled to keep their issues private when at work or applying for jobs.

“You should be proud of the fact you’re trying to better your life,” he said. “You don’t have to be right at the bottom to want to change and to want to be well.”

In its 30 years of business in Regina, Nicky’s Cafe has become somewhat of an institution, having served more than 3 million bowls of their famous lentil soup, according to their website.

Since opening the second location in November, Foley has hired two cooks and a kitchen manager and has plans for further hiring. He said the restaurant offers each of them the chance to talk things through when they’re struggling.

“Typically those aren’t conversations that are had within a workplace,” he said. “It’s just a way to open the conversation.”

Foley said the first few months in operation have been challenging, but rewarding at the same time.

“At the end of the day, you’re just trying to do something better for the community and that’s what our cafe has prided itself on,” he said.