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Houston Restaurants Offer Free Meals for Hospitality Workers Affected by Coronavirus Shutdowns

Plus, a barbecue fundraiser is happening this weekend

The dining room at MAD. Mai Pham

Houston restaurant groups are setting up community kitchens to help feed restaurant and hospitality employees who are out of work due to coronavirus shutdowns. Here’s where workers can go for a free meal:

Restaurant Workers Relief Program at Riel Houston

Starting Saturday, March 28, upscale Montrose eatery Riel Houston will flip into a daily relief center, providing free, to-go dinner every night to anyone who has been laid off or experienced a big reduction in hours or pay while the city enforces a no dine-in rule. The restaurant will also drop in free home essentials like toilet paper, diapers, and fresh produce. The program is funded by Maker’s Mark and chef Ed Lee’s initiative, which is taking donations to keep meals coming.

Where: Riel Houston (1927 Fairview Street) in a designated area in the parking lot

When: Pick-up time is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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We are here for you, Houston! Restaurant Workers Relief Program Due to the closure of restaurants in Texas, we have an urgent need for assistance for the thousands of restaurant workers who find themselves suddenly without work, without a paycheck and without a support system. Starting on March 28 in partnership with @makersmark and @leeinitiative @chefedwardlee, we will turn @rielhouston into a relief center for any restaurant worker who has been laid off or has had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay. We are offering help for those in dire need of food and supplies. Each night, we will pack hundreds of to go dinners that people can come to pick up and take home. Dinners are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Limit 1 per person unless there is an emergency situation. We will also have essential supplies on hand. We will limit how much any one person can take of these supplies, but they will be handed out free to those in need. We will continue to offer this program until we can no longer financially support the program. •Dinner pick up address: Riel Restaurant, 1927 Fairview St., Houston, TX 77019 •This program will be offered 7 days a week for a minimum of 10 days, or until otherwise notified •Pick up time is 4:00pm to 6:00pm daily •Pick up will be in a designated area in the front parking lot of Riel To support this program and our restaurant community, donate to #chefselevatingchefs #goodfoodforgood #LEEInitiative #houston

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“Keep Houston Fed” With Greater Houston Restaurant Association and Houston Food Bank

Customers at Houston-area restaurants offering delivery, takeout, and gift cards for sale can opt to add $1 or more to their order that goes directly to Houston Food Bank, helping meet demand for food distribution as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Every $1 donated to Houston Food Bank can provide three meals to those in need.

BCN / MAD’s Curbside Community Kitchen

The team behind Spanish restaurants BCN Taste and Tradition and MAD just rolled out a Curbside Community Kitchen geared toward members of the Houston hospitality industry who’ve been affected by the COVID-19 closures. At MAD, team members will hand out 200 complimentary, individual meals on a first come, first served basis. The dinners will be the sort of food that the staff eats at lunch for family meal, with a Spanish twist. Call 281-888-2770 for any questions.

Where: MAD, 4444 Westheimer Rd, Suite C180, Houston

When: Monday-Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.


This Saturday, restaurateur Ronnie Killen is offering up free meals of spicy chicken sandwiches and chips to hospitality workers who were affected by the shutdown. Head to Killen’s with a paycheck stub for proof of employment.

Where: Killen’s, 101 Heights Blvd., Houston Heights

When: Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m.

Dish Society

The restaurant is offering 50% off for hospitality pros for one meal daily. This limited time deal is offered via drive thru service, and alcohol is not included. “Some proof would be nice,” the restaurant writes.