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Restaurateur Tilman Fertitta Supports Extending Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Plus, more Houston dining intel

President Trump Holds Roundtable Discussion With Restaurant Executives Photo by Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

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.

Tillman Fertitta wants unemployment benefits extended

Billionaire and Landry’s CEO Tillman Fertitta, a frequent guest on CNBC’s Power Lunch program, has called on the U.S. government to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits that were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic shutdown. Speaking on the program, Fertitta said the temporary $600 payment increase should be continued for at least 90 more days. He told host Tyler Mathisen that if unemployment benefits end, spending at restaurants and casinos will also end. Fertitta’s Landry’s empire includes more than 600 restaurants and five casinos.

TABC issues warning to restaurant industry to follow COVID-19 guidelines

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has issued a warning to alcohol-serving establishments that those in violation of the state’s social distancing guidelines may have their liquor license suspended. In a press release, the organization said it is closely monitoring bars and restaurants and has the authority to temporarily suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. Currently, bars are limited to 50 percent capacity, while restaurants are limited to 75 percent.

In a series of tweets, ABC13 reporter Miya Shay said that TABC officials told her they have issued just one warning and zero sanctions since reopening began on May 1.

Two Houston restaurant groups participate in national Bakers Against Racism initiative

Both Underbelly and Goodnight Hospitality are taking part in a virtual worldwide bake sale to help raise funds for racial equality organizations. Bakers Against Racism asks participating bakers, chefs and home cooks to sell at least 150 servings of desert and donate the proceeds of those sales to organizations that support Black lives. More than 3,700 bakers are participating.

Underbelly has chosen Pure Justice, a Houston organization focused on criminal justice reform and economic equity issues. They’re selling a $40 UBH Party Pack of five desserts, include a rainbow cookie sandwich a mini apple pie from Georgia James and a black lime pie bar. Order here for pickup on Saturday. June 20.

Goodnight Hospitality’s sales will benefit the Center for the Healing of Racism. Rosie Cannonball is selling a $24 Melba Pavlova kit which serves four, including French meringue, vanilla chantilly, raspberry sauce, and a pint of peach sorbet. Orders can be placed here for Saturday pickup.

Be More Pacific calls it quits in Austin to focus on Houston

The owners of beloved Filipino restaurant Be More Pacific have decided to close up shop at their first location in Austin in order to focus on Houston. According to Facebook post by co-owner Mark Pascual, the closure of the restaurant was partially due to the coronavirus pandemic and slow reopening. The owners are turning their focus to their new location in Houston’s Heights, which opened in February, just before the pandemic shutdown. The original restaurant was founded by first-generation Filipino Houstonians as a food truck in Austin in 2011 before becoming a brick and mortar in 2017.