September 15, 2021
 Contact:, 202-224-4343

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Recently, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recognized DV8 Kitchen of Lexington, Kentucky, as the U.S. Senate Small Business of the Week. Dr. Paul was able to visit DV8 Kitchen during his travels throughout the state last month.

Dr. Paul entered the following into the Congressional Record:
Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, each week I recognize an outstanding Kentucky small business that exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit. This week, it is my privilege to recognize a family-owned small business and second-chance employment opportunity, DV8 Kitchen of Lexington, Kentucky, as the Senate Small Business of the Week. 
In 2017, Rob and Diane Perez opened DV8 Kitchen in Lexington, Kentucky. The couple, who met while working in the restaurant industry, ran a successful restaurant in town. In 2013, Rob and Diane were dismayed to discover that they had lost 13 employees to addiction over 10 years and that half the cases were related to opioid drugs. Rob, who had overcome alcoholism when he was young, understood first-hand the challenges of recovery. Together, Rob and Diane decided to pursue a business venture that would provide dignified work and validate those in recovery. After a two-year planning process, DV8 Kitchen came together in just four and half months. There was an outpouring of support from local families and businesses, ranging from monetary investments to local professionals donating their services to the project. In September 2017, DV8 Kitchen began touching lives in Lexington, one meal at a time.  
Today, DV8 Kitchen continues their transformative work as a second-chance employment opportunity. The restaurant provides hearty, home-cooked Southern fare, and is known for its homemade baked goods and bread, which it sells wholesale to other restaurants. Rob and Diane partner with local organizations and treatment centers, like Shepard’s House, to identify and hire individuals in recovery. Beyond employment, DV8 Kitchen provides community, purpose, and job skills. Through volunteer-taught workshops and mentoring, employees are equipped to continue rebuilding their lives. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob and Diane were able to keep DV8 Kitchen running and continue their critical mission of supporting individuals in recovery. Additionally, in fall 2021, DV8 Kitchen opened a second location with a larger bakery, right on Lexington’s Third Street.
Beyond DV8 Kitchen, Rob and Diane are committed enabling small businesses to support workers in recovery. Through Soulfull Enterprise, an immersive training experience, local nonprofits, small businesses, and corporations are equipped to hire and integrate second chance employees into their organizations. Additionally, the DV8 Kitchen Vocational Training Foundation, Inc. trains and equips individuals in recovery to work in the restaurant industry. DV8 Kitchen’s remarkable mission and success has been recognized at the local, regional, and national level. Their work has been profiled by local media including WTVQ, WKYT, and Lex 18, and in national outlets like The New York Times, NBC News, and the Oprah Magazine. In addition to its social impact, DV8 Kitchen has earned accolades for its food, including being recognized by Yelp as one of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. in 2019.   
DV8 Kitchen is a remarkable example of the critical role small businesses play in uplifting and building community. Family-owned small businesses like DV8 Kitchen form the heart of towns across Kentucky, regularly stepping up to support their communities and transform lives. Congratulations to Rob, Diane, and the entire team at DV8 Kitchen. I wish them the best of luck and look forward to watching their continued growth and success in Kentucky.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Paul continues the tradition of honoring America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America’s small businesses.


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