We’re moving into the season of being thankful –– and please indulge me a little while I acknowledge the staff at Visit Fort Worth who make everything happen, and make it all look flawless. Thankfulness and gratitude run deeply in Cowtown’s restaurant community.
Chefs like Jon Bonnell often open their restaurants on a day they’d usually be closed for fundraisers. Chefs Michael Thompson (Michael’s Cuisine) and Derek Venutolo (Capital Grille) lead the food fight against cystic fibrosis at the 65 Roses benefit. Almost all our local chefs help with Tarrant Area Food Bank’s Empty Bowls. Every week, you’ll find restaurants donating food and services, and raising money for charitable endeavors. Here are six stories to get you in a thankful mood.
Taste Community Restaurant
The Taste Community Restaurant tops our list of restaurants that do good and give back. The 501(c)3 community café offers a pay-what-you-can structure that allows people who have more to give more, and provides meals for people who are struggling. As the website says, Taste “allows people to fill their bellies without shame.” The restaurant also provides on-the-job training in all aspects of the restaurant business for people moving their way out of poverty and into the workforce. Have some extra time? Join the restaurant as a Taste Bud. Don’t have time to volunteer? Check out the restaurant’s wish list.
Blue Mesa Southwest Grill
Blue Mesa Southwest Grill has raised thousands of dollars ($229,429 as of August of this year) for Lena Pope Home, Mesa Hermanos, Operation Kindness, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation –– just by selling guacamole. Yes, when you order the Good Karma guacamole, made tableside to your specific tastes (a little less onion please, and more lime), Blue Mesa donates 50 cents to these charities.
Cane Rosso was one of the first restaurants producing Italian-quality, Neapolitan-style pizza baked in ovens just slightly cooler than the surface of the sun. Part of the pizza proceeds, and a healthy dose of love from customers helps fund Cane Rosso Rescue, a 501(c)3 organization that rescues, provides foster care for, and promotes the adoption of stray dogs from every corner of Texas.
So far the rescue organization has adopted out over 300 adorable puppers. The Pups on the Patio events are chances for adoptable animals to have a night out and be socialized with other well-mannered dogs who’ve found their fur-ever home. Want to help? Check out the swag section (it’s “Pawsome!”) on the website.
Grace’s owner Adam Jones’ mom was a school teacher, and perhaps that’s why the restaurant is so generous with the Fort Worth Independent School District. For several years, Grace partnered with Real School Gardens in their effort to put fresh fruit and veggies in the hands of children who live in Fort Worth’s food deserts by planting gardens at schools. Students got a visit from Jones and Chef Blaine Staniford and some of the crops turned into appetizers and salad courses at the restaurant. This year, Jones welcomed classes from Riverside Applied Learning Center, where the students were challenged to create recipes, convert measurements, and plan and budget for meals.
Love first responders? B&B Butchers honors first responders with free meals the first week in September. Owner Ben Berg started the event during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the offer of a free three-course meal still stands. Reata Restaurant also episodically honors police and first responders with free meals (check the restaurant’s FB page for updates).
Finally, after 12 years of public school fundraising, I can tell you that the one-two punch of dining out while donating to your child’s athletic, band, choir or other endeavor is a winner. Campisi’s Pie Five and Blaze Wood Fired Pizza will help your kids’ school raise some dough with a Spirit Night fundraiser. And, Spring Creek Barbecue’s fundraising dinners are legendary – it’s the one time you’ll find yourself turning down just one more yeast roll.