Nielsen Studios Inc
American Faces #86 - The Hope Dealer
Updated: Jun 1
American Faces No. 86
Brian Ingram can be called a “Hope Dealer.”
I met Brian at his Hope Breakfast Bar in St. Paul. He was whipping up a few creations from his unique breakfast menu – the carrot cake pancakes, and the pork belly and biscuit (he sent them home with me, it was amazing). Despite the array of culinary temptations on offer, I discovered what Brian’s really dishing up is a whole lot of hope, served with a big slice of love.
The Hope Breakfast Bar is one of several Purpose Restaurants, co-founded by Brian and his wife, Sarah. I could tell this place was special. “Hope” is more than just a name on the door. The mission to care for people comes from a very personal drive to do things differently.
For a while, Brian lived the life of an award-winning, fast-climbing corporate chef, with its relentless schedule and intense competitive pressures. He was helping build nationally-known brands, setting trends in the restaurant business. That fast-paced and turbulent life, while offering the opportunity to showcase his unique skills as a chef, came at a high cost, and created turmoil in Brian's past.
With Purpose Restaurants, Brian and Sarah have flipped the tables. Now, for them, it’s all about people. You see, Brian discovered hope and love. He’s taking a second shot at living a life of purpose. And he’s making it count.
Brian says, “We believe everything good starts with a meal.” In that spirit, three percent of every customer’s tab is directed to Give Hope Minnesota, the charitable organization they formed to invest back into local communities in profound ways. Brian and Sarah say it’s about bringing the community together to support and serve those in need.
One way they do that is by placing “Give Hope” cards at each table, inviting their guests to write down their hopes, prayers and dreams so the restaurant staff can pray over what they’ve shared. Brian says, “It doesn’t matter what you believe in – we believe in you.”
Through Purpose Restaurants Brian and Sarah strive to cultivate a culture that prioritizes the well-being of workers. They want their 300+ employees – and restaurant workers throughout the Twin Cities metro – to thrive, find hope and know they are loved.
When it comes to it, that’s what any of us should hope for. To help others thrive, and to be a hope dealer. Maybe to the waitress who served you a meal, or the elderly neighbor alone in their apartment. Whoever it may be, don’t leave your opportunity to help go undone. Then celebrate by heading over to Hope Breakfast Bar, order up some of Brian’s crazy-good food, and help them spread more hope.
Photos by: Nielsen Studios
Writing/editing by: Scott Whitman