You can call the Houston restaurant scene a lot of things: eclectic, fabulous, great tacos and fine dining to beat any food scene in the country.
And charitable, because our restaurants are also very much into giving back to the local community.
Sure, there’s Houston Restaurant Weeks, a benefit that began as one week in August to raise funds for the Houston Food Bank and now stretches into a month-long feast that offers special lunches and dinners at $20 to $35 from 169 restaurants this year. Since 2003 this event has raised more than $2.9 million to feed the hungry in our area.
When the heat fades and fall is in the air, local eateries don’t forget that charity begins at home. And by home we mean at your local restaurant.
It’s a win-win event, raising money for charity but also helping to fill seats during a traditionally slow month for restaurants as well as bringing in new diners who may become regular patrons.
But when the heat fades and fall is in the air, local eateries don’t forget that charity begins at home. And by home we mean at your local restaurant.
At the end of September the amazing chefs at Triniti held their second benefit dinner for Mercury, formerly Mercury Baroque, a local nonprofit music organization. Pairing fine food and period music for a sold-out crowd of 90 and raising $6,600 for the orchestra. And chef Ryan Hildebrand isn’t stopping yet, he plans a Spring Concerto in Eight Courses for March 28, 2013 to raise more funds for Mercury and introduce the seasonal restaurant’s spring menu.
But you don’t have to wait until springtime to eat well and do good, because a lot of local restaurants are serving up for food and funds for charity in October.
A lot of eateries are going pink this month, raising funds for breast cancer awareness and research. Monarch at Hotel ZaZa, where chef Jonathon Jones has recently landed, is offering $5 Mum’s Napa Valley Rose all month long as well as a specialty cocktail called The Pink Paloma, made with silver tequila, pink grapefruit juice and soda, to benefit Susan G. Komen For The Cure. The entire hotel will also be decked out with pink chandeliers and staff will sport pink shoes, ties and ribbons.
And speaking of pink ribbons, Houston’s Pink Ribbons Project, a dance-based fundraiser for breast cancer awareness started by sisters Jane Weiner and Susan Rafte, will receive $1 from each Berry Evocative cocktail sold at Katsuya by S+ARCK. Ingredients include Bacardi Oakheart rum, hand-crushed strawberries and freshly squeezed limejuice, finished with a splash of citrus soda. Drink up and give back.
And it’s not just booze that can help fight cancer (OK, you know what we mean) but food, too. Ouisie's Table and The Bird and The Bear are both offering Pink Pancakes or a cocktail (okay, wait, more booze) for the Cure at breakfast and brunch during the month of October as a fundraiser to benefit Reconstruction of a Survivor.
While October is breast cancer awareness month, there are also restaurants raising funds for other causes.
Need a reason to indulge? At Midtown sweets shop Dolce Delights, $2 from every pomegranate honey creme brulee cake sold go to support the Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation, which provides free reconstructive surgery to post-cancer patients without insurance.
And while October is breast cancer awareness month, there are also restaurants raising funds for other causes.
Love pups? Who doesn’t? Barrio Dogs is a grassroots nonprofit that raises awareness and education on proper care for low-income dog owners. All month long Feast, that superb English, nose-to-tail eatery, is offering a three-course meal for $35 (hello bargain!) with $5 going to Barrio Dogs.
And my favorite steakhouse, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in River Oaks, is turning 10 this month. Hard to believe but true. Are they throwing a huge party? Are they patting themselves on their back? No. They are spending the entire month of October giving back.
In their Month of Giving they are offering a special $49.95 dinner with $10 going directly to children’s cancer charities. Beneficiaries include the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Sunshine Kids, United2Cure Children, Candlelighters and City Art Works. The menu includes a fall harvest salad, choice of surf-and-turf, rosemary lamb chops or tuna mignon, Parmesan mashed potatoes or sautéed spinach and a dessert of berry cobbler.
I’ve heard from several restaurateurs that business is down as people are worried about the election and the economy. But these are all great deals that should get you out of the house to eat some wonderful food for good causes. So go! Just go and help the restaurant scene and local charities.