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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT TOP: A Houston Hot Chicken Sandwich from Dish Society