2 HRW Alternatives

2 favorite Houston restaurants stir up chance to feast for worthy local causes

2 favorite Houston restaurants stir up chance to feast for charity

The Union Kitchen charity dining menu
The Union Kitchen's Month of Gr8 Giving runs through August 31. Courtesy of The Union Kitchen

With approximately 250 participating locations, diners have plenty of options when it comes to supporting Houston Restaurants Weeks, the month-long charity dining event that kicked off August 1. While supporting the Houston Food Bank is an undeniably worthy cause, a couple of local establishments are piggybacking off HRW's success to hold fundraisers of their own.

Both Kenny & Ziggy's and The Union Kitchen are holding their own charitable dining events that benefit equally worthwhile non-profits. As with HRW, they're offering prix fixe menus at set prices that allow diners to order some of their best and most popular dishes while also raising money that will improve their community. 

For the sixth year in a row, Kenny & Ziggy's is participating in National Deli Month to benefit the Holocaust Museum of Houston. The Galleria-area restaurant will contribute 10 percent of sales from a three-course, $38 menu to the museum. Chef-owner Ziggy Gruber tells CultureMap his restaurant has contributed approximately $20,000 to the museum since 2017.

The deli month menu provides diners with the opportunity to explore beyond the restaurant's popular sandwiches. Choices include Jewish dining staples such as chopped liver, matzo ball soup, and a knish (potato, spinach, or kasha wrapped in puff pastry). Entree choices include beef brisket, roast chicken, and Gruber's signature Roumanian steak. Dessert options include cheesecake and the fan favorite seven-layer cake. 

Established by Gruber and Jay Parker (Ben's Best Deli in Rego Park, NY) in 2016, National Deli Month brings attention to a once prominent dining institution that's declining due to changing tastes. The Deli Man documentary that prominently features Gruber tells this story in greater detail.  

As for The Union Kitchen, it's second annual Month of Gr8 Giving fundraiser will benefit Casa de Esperanza, a local non-profit offering much-needed residential and family support to at-risk children and infants. All six locations of the eclectic comfort food restaurant will offer $20, two-course lunch and $35, three-course dinner menus that will trigger $2 and $3 donations.

Rather than serve one menu at every restaurant, owners Doris and Paul Miller have allowed each location to feature dishes that will appeal to local tastes. For example, dinner options at the Ella location in the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area include mini crab cakes, a surf and turf of Gulf shrimp with filet medallions, and blackened red snapper, or diners can head to the Kingwood location for truffle mac and cheese and a 10-ounce New York strip with blue cheese crumbles and bacon jam.

In addition to making a cash contribution, the restaurant will also accept customers' donations of diapers, baby food, toys, and other supplies that Casa de Esperanza will distribute to people in need.