Montrose restaurant Riel is participating in the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, a national campaign to provide meals and other supplies to unemployed hospitality workers. Organized by James Beard Award-winning author and chef Edward Lee and his charity the Lee Initiative, the program aims to serve hundreds of meals per day to people who've lost their jobs due to restaurants being closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eligible hospitality workers can visit Riel daily between 4 and 6 pm to collect one meal per person. Each participating restaurant also has a limited supply of other essential items such as groceries, diapers, and toiletries.
Those efforts received a boost last week courtesy of the Deshaun Watson Foundation, which made a donation that will allow Riel to continue the program beyond its original 10 day timeline. Any additional funds raised in Houston for the program will also go towards Riel's efforts.
"Every dollar counts, and we're extremely grateful for Deshaun's donation," Riel chef-owner Ryan Lachaine said in a statement. "We could all use something to smile about right now. He's putting food on the table for a lot of people in Houston who need it."
Being a part of the Restaurant Workers Relief Program puts Riel in prestigious company. In addition to chef Lee's restaurants 610 Magnolia in Louisville and Succotash in Washington, D.C., the program includes Beard Award winners such as Donald Link (Cochon in New Orleans), Edouardo Jordan (Salare in Seattle), and Nancy Silverton (Chi Spacca in Los Angeles).
Those combined efforts have created over 25,000 meals since the program started last week, according to a post on social media.