Drink for a cause

Top chefs compete to raise money for Houston's new charity bar: Special menus and trash talk

Top chefs compete to raise money for Houston's new charity bar: Special menus and trash talk

okra charity bar opening
Chefs will be competing at Grand Prize Bar all week to raise money for the forthcoming downtown OKRA Charity Saloon. Photo by Sarah Rufca
Grand Prize Bar, Houston, exterior
Grand Prize Bar Google Maps
okra charity bar opening
Grand Prize Bar, Houston, exterior

Guys turning virtually any situation into a competition is nothing new, but when the trash talk involves an impressive lineup of Houston gourmands cooking for charity, it’s downright exciting.

All this week, seven distinguished chefs will offer up dishes at Grand Prize Bar to raise funds for the renovation completion of The Original OKRA Charity Saloon, a forthcoming non-profit bar. The chefs (listed below) have already started tempting with menu teasers and competitive banter over who will raise the most money for the Charity Saloon, as 100 percent of Grand Prize’s food proceeds for the week go straight towards the new project.

At the helm of the upcoming philanthropic drinkery is The Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs (OKRA), which is made up of several independent local bar and restaurant owners who plan to give back to the community and address concerns affecting the hospitality industry — resolving parking permit issues and pushing for a walkable Westheimer has been a recent focus.  

After a brief preview this summer, The Charity Saloon will likely open in the next three weeks, licensing and construction permitting, and will take Red Cat Jazz Cafe's old location at 924 Congress. Once open, all of the profits will benefit a different charity every month, and patrons will get to vote on the recipient. OKRA has also set up an account on PeerBackers, a crowd-funding site, to ensure the Charity Saloon’s timely opening.

So whether you stop in to Grand Prize this week for a pint or just to escape the onrush of holiday guests, make sure to grab a bite, too. In the competition of who raises the most for charity while serving up a value of a bite, everyone wins.

Here is a list of the culinary talents donating their efforts this week: