Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 6.06.21 PM

It is possible the restaurant industry has been permanently altered by the COVID-induced quarantine. But in true Houston fashion, folks are banding together, determined to support one another and the city’s restaurant scene. Lots of hot spots are serving gratis meals to industry workers, and others are fundraising extra dollars to supplement workers’ lost tips and income.


This weekend, Goodnight Charlie’s handed out 40-plus boxes of fresh produce to hospitality workers. And B&B Butchers, who started a GoFundMe to support its hourly employees, hosted a drive-through barbecue event with all proceeds benefiting the cause. Cars lined up for over an hour and a half on Saturday and Sunday. “We were absolutely blown away by the amount of people who showed up at our drive-through fundraiser this past weekend,” says Ben Berg. “We ran out of food both days! It means so much to me and all of our managers that Houstonians waited in line to help support our hourly staff during this time of need.” The restaurant plans to do it again this weekend, doling out smoked hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and more from 11am-3pm. Pro tip: While Berg says they’ll have twice the amount of food this weekend, show up before 11 to guarantee your mouthwatering meal!

Here are a happy handful of other initiatives that show just how much Houston loves its foodie family.

  • At The Phoenix on Westheimer, industry workers who find themselves without a job can pick up a free meal on Wednesday, March 25. Please make a reservation through the website.
  • All Dish Society locations are giving 50 percent off one meal per person per day for “restaurant and bar friends,” noting that “some form of proof would be nice.” Customers not in the industry can call the restaurant and buy a meal for a doctor, nurse or first responder for $15; orders will be delivered to hospitals and units throughout the week.
  • Landry’s is serving free meals to all Landry’s restaurant employees and their immediate family members, seven days a week from 11am-7pm at Willie G’s.
  • Similarly, Houston-grown breakfast chain The Toasted Yolk offers each employee up to four to-go meals per day to help feed their families.
  • Poison Girl keeps it low-key and highly delicious with a free hot dog and highball for all hospitality industry folks.
  • The Rustic is wanting to pay it forward to Houston’s healthcare workers: For every hot chicken-and-cheese sandwich purchased to feed a hospital worker, The Rustic will match with another. Call 832.321.7799 to pledge your donation.
  • Hopdoddy is doing the same: Its "buy a burger, give a burger" campaign will feed hungry healthcare workers. Use the promo "Buy1Give1" upon online checkout.
  • Brennan's of Houston launched a GoFundMe for its hardworking staff.
  • New Mutiny Wine Room set up a smoker outside its darling Heights tasting room to serve $8 barbecue plates — which are free to hospitality workers who bring a copy of their W2.
  • Nancy’s Hustle has rolled out a GoFundMe to ensure that its workers retain health insurance and financial assistance for as long as possible.

Know of other great ways that local restaurants and bars are supporting the industry and its workers? Know of ways all Houstonians can help? Email evan@houstoncitybook.com.

AT TOP: A Houston Hot Chicken Sandwich from Dish Society

Dispatches

AN INTERVIEW WITH Jon Heine President of Houston Market, Veritex Community Bank

What were your biggest challenges of 2020? Without question the biggest challenge was pivoting from the playbook we had to begin 2020 in order to quickly address the immediate needs of our clients, colleagues and communities. Working with our customers to provide loan payment deferrals and PPP loans through the SBA Payroll Protection Program (Veritex Bank provided over $400 million to 2,100 clients in Round 1) became the immediate priority. This involved a Herculean effort from over 120 of our colleagues in various departments of the Bank who raised their hand to assist not because of an opportunity, but out of obligation to the communities we serve.

Keep Reading Show less

Warren and Rachel Ellsworth and Betty and Jess Tutor

HOUSTON GRAND OPERA officially opened its first live season of shows in two years with a bold, colorful presentation of Bizet's Carmen followed by a fabulous crimson-tented dinner on Ray C. Fish Plaza just outside the theater.

Keep Reading Show less
People + Places

Kellie and Chad Motsinger

THE BOYS & GIRLS Clubs of Greater Houston serves more than 30,000 children and teens through its 23 clubs across the region, and thanks to a successful fundraiser last week, the organization is able to continue its mission of offering quality after-school and summer programming to Houston youth.

Keep Reading Show less
People + Places