Mentaleaty: A Restaurant in Athens Employing People With Mental Illness

Better food for a betterworld, Mentaleaty, Athens
Better food for a betterworld, Mentaleaty, Athens | Courtesy of Mentaleaty
Photo of Ethel Dilouambaka
27 April 2018

Located in Metaxourgeio/Kerameikos area, near the lively Gazi district, Mentaleaty is a picturesque restaurant serving finger-licking Asian cuisine, inspired by Chinese, Thai, Polynesian and Philippino flavors. But this restaurant, which has conquered the heart of many Athenians, has a noble cause behind its innovative concept, which makes it even more a favorite. Here, the staff counts individuals suffering from mental illness, offering these too-often marginalized group a chance to make a living. Learn all about this cool restaurant with a cause.

In the past years, Athens has seen its exotic cuisine scene expanded with a plethora of street food joints and exotic restaurants opening their doors every month. In this context, the addition of Mentaleaty could have been just another address to remember, with its extensive menu including wontons, spring rolls, curry dishes and noodles dishes. But Mentaleaty stands out thanks to the support of the Athena-Elpis association, which strives to help people suffering from mental health issues reinsert themselves into everyday society.

Mentaleaty, Athens | Courtesy of Mentaleaty

Besides work, the association also offers therapeutic support and help to their members. With this objective in mind, Mentaleaty was born. Using Asian food as a therapy, the restaurant employs various people suffering from mental illness, such as psychoses and neuroses, as they are supported by a team of mental health professionals to advice and help them along the way. Employees, members of the association, are evaluated once they show improvement and later trained to work in a restaurant environment. Once they pass these stages, they are fully integrated into the restaurant’s staff, which includes a qualified supervisor as well as individuals without mental issues to create a sense of balance in the workplace. The results of this initiative pay off, as it has been shown that employment reduces up to 60% the chance of people with mental illness being hospitalized. Consequently, the association is considering including people with disabilities and especially deaf people in the future stages or the project. Besides Mentaleaty, the Athena-Elpis supports a few other initiatives, including a catering service, a café in the Agia Paraskevi Elderly Care Unit, a green cleaning service, among others.

Asian Food for Therapy | Courtesy of Mentaleaty

But besides helping individuals from this group to find a job, Mentaleaty has also adopted an innovative approach consisting of promoting healthy and nutritious food, cooked with fresh ingredients. As such, no flavor enhancers or hydrogenated vegetable oils are used while the frying oil is recycled to serve in the production of biofuels. Furthermore, if you opt for the delivery option, your order comes delivered to your doorstep by bike to reduce pollution.

And now you know why Mentaleaty is one of our favorite spots to enjoy delicious Asian food in the Greek capital.

Mentaleaty Asian Food Therapy | Courtesy of Mentaleaty

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