There’s little doubt about the ferocity of the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, seeing how several brands in some of the worst-hit sectors are attempting to care for their own is heartwarming.
Case in point is the restaurant and bar industry. Through a donation from Maker’s Mark, restaurant owners and chefs are turning establishments into staging areas for free meals and supplies. The food and other items are distributed daily to waiters, bartenders and industry personnel that coronavirus has left unemployed.
Starting March 17, Chef Edward Lee turned his 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville into a relief center. In addition to complimentary meals, the restaurant is distributing toilet paper, Tylenol, diapers, canned goods and cereal. Donations from citizens and other organizations allowed Chef Lee to serve some 400 unemployed workers on night one.
The move inspired chefs across the country to partner with Lee, who has a foundation, and launch relief centers in their cities. The honor roll includes: Nancy Silverton at Chi Spacca in Los Angeles, who’s serving 300 meals nightly. She limits guests to two meals per, there’s a quota on other supplies and you must show proof that you were a restaurant or bar employee.
Other participants include: Chefs/owners Jose Salazar at Mita’s in Cincinnati; Edouardo Jordan at Salare in Seattle; Paul Kahan at Big Star in Chicago; Alon Shaya at Safta in Denver; Greg Braxtrom at Olmsted and Nate Adler at Gertie’s, both in Brooklyn; Donald Link at Cochon in New Orleans; Ouita Michel and Samantha Fore at Great Bagel Bakery in Lexington; and Linton Hopkins at Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta. In addition, Lee’s DC-based Succotash also joined.
The story doesn’t end here, however. Other restaurants, some working with Lee, others going solo or partnering with other groups, also are doing their part to feed and help hospitality employees. An excellent bunch of LA-based bars and restaurants are joining the cause.
There’s also a subset of restaurants offering sustenance to health care workers. Beverly Grove and DTLA sandwich shop Uncle Paulie’s is sending deli sandwiches and salads for workers in the healthcare industry. Bar Amá / Orsa & Winston / Bäco Mercat and Amácita chef Josef Centeno is sending meals to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, including enchiladas, which look delicious.
Meanwhile, on the East Coast, another well-known NY deli chain is feeding hospital staff. Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) joined Ben's Deli and United Way of Long Island for Chicken Soup for Health Care Responders. Ben's will deliver free its cold cut sandwiches, salads and soups (packaged to avoid contamination) to hospitals in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Rep. Israel conceived the idea while munching Ben’s’ take-out fare during his self-quarantine.
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