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Houston Diner Tips Nearly $10K to Help Struggling Servers After Coronavirus Closes Restaurants

Also: Texas restaurants urge the governor for financial relief, and more intel

The $9,400 tip was left at Irma’s Southwest Grill in Downtown Houston
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.

Anonymous diner leaves major tip for Irma’s Southwest staff

After dining at Irma’s Southwest Grill in Downtown Houston, an anonymous diner left a $9,400 tip to help support servers at the restaurant. According to ABC13, the patron encouraged the restaurant to “hold tip to pay [their] guys over the next few weeks” following the city’s order shuttering all bars and restaurants temporarily. Irma’s says that it will split the money evenly between its staff, with each employee receiving around $300 each.

Texas restaurants urge governor to suspend sales taxes during coronavirus shutdowns

A new petition on calling for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to cancel restaurants and bars’s mixed beverage and sales tax bills has racked up more than 15,000 signatures. “Payment of these taxes will undoubtedly cause even greater financial burden on already struggling businesses that are closing or being forced to close to stop the outbreak,” organizer Stephanie Houston wrote in the petition. “This delay or cancel of tax will provide financial relief immediately to businesses that will file to pay the March 20th tax due.”

Superstar couple Kealia Ohai and J.J. Watt make massive Houston Food Bank donation

To help the Houston Food Bank meet the increased need during the coronavirus pandemic, Houston’s biggest superstar couple donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank. According to KHOU, the donation will help the Houston Food Bank provide more than a million meals to Houstonians in need.