As service industry workers face mass furloughs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Austin restaurants are stepping up to provide free or discounted meals for their brethren.
From forthcoming restaurant Vic and Al’s transforming into a community kitchen to neighborhood coffee shop Flightpath Coffeehouse offering groceries at-cost to the unemployed, restaurants are finding creative ways to support members of the service industry.
A running list of restaurant programs is below. Did Eater miss a food-related program for service industry workers? Let us know through the tipline or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Austin Eastciders: The local cider company is offering 25 percent off six-packs of cider for service industry. (979 Springdale Road, East Austin)
- Austin Shift Meal: This nonprofit, supported by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance and several local restaurants, provides weekly bags of food. Sign up online.
- Aviary Wine + Kitchen: South Lamar’s quirky wine bar has sack lunches for service industry workers for $2.13 (minimum wage for tipped workers). The lunches include a charcuterie sandwich, dessert, and a bottle of wine, with all tips going to Aviary staff. Order online or call (512) 916-4445. (2110 South Lamar Boulevard, South Lamar)
- Baton Creole: For a $10 donation, the Cajun food truck will provide a plate of food (with sides) for health care or hospitality worker — either a specific person, or someone in need. (1016 East Sixth Street, East Sixth)
- Contigo: The ranch restaurant provides dinner for their staff every day, with the option for customers to support this effort when ordering online. (2027 Anchor Lane, MLK)
- Crema Bakery and Café: The South Austin bakery is offering sack lunches to anyone who needs one, including furloughed workers. Donate to the cause at the Crema website. (9001 Brodie Lane, South Austin)
- Cruzteca Mexican Kitchen: The Sunset Valley Mexican restaurant is offering 50 percent off to-go orders for service industry workers. Call (512) 291-7726 or order online. (5207 Brodie Lane, Sunset Valley)
- Flightpath Coffeehouse: The North Loop coffeehouse is operating a small grocery store of fresh produce and essentials that are offered at-cost to those who have lost their jobs. (5011 Duval Street, North Loop)
- FoodHeads: The 20-year-old gourmet sandwich shop in Heritage allows those experiencing hardships to pay what they can. Email email@example.com for more information. (616 West 34th Street, Heritage)
- Gourmands: In addition to feeding seniors at a nearby retirement community, the Webberville pub is providing free meals for furloughed neighbors. Community members can also donate to the cause. (2316 Webberville Road, East Austin)
- House Wine: Every Monday starting May 4, the Zilker wine shop has $5 meals available for service industry workers that include include a local cider or beer and a hummus plate. Order by phone for pickup, 512- 322-5210 starting at 12 p.m. (408 Josephine Street, Zilker)
- Interstellar Barbecue: The lauded smokehouse is offering free bowls of chicken caldo soup for members of the service industry (and customers have the option to buy soup for others). Place orders online for curbside pickup. (12233 Ranch Rd 620 N, North Austin)
- Old Thousand: The East Austin Chinese-American restaurant provides 20 meals daily to service industry workers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. (1000 East 11th Street, Central East Austin)
- Parkside Projects: The restaurant group that includes Parkside, Backspace, Olive & June, Vamonos, and Jugo offers family-style to-go menus that are free for their employees and half-price for hospitality workers.
- Pizzeria Grata: South Austin’s Italian-pizzeria-in-a-gas-station is offering 50 percent off pizzas for service industry (and health care) workers. Grata also has a pay-it-forward program (an extension of a regular program, but now focused on industry workers) to donate meals. Order online or through DoorDash, Favor, or Uber Eats. (4415 Menchaca, South Austin)
- Plow Burger: The vegan burger truck with locations at Buzz Mill Coffee on East Riverside and Hyde Park is offering 20 percent discounts for service industry folks.
- Quality Seafood Market: The longstanding restaurant and seafood market is offering a 20 percent discount to service workers, including to-go crawfish. (5621 Airport Boulevard, North Loop)
- Soup Peddler: All locations of the soup and smoothie spot are still open, and offering a 20 percent discount to service industry workers.
- Tso Chinese: The Asian food delivery service is offering free family meals to anyone displaced by COVID-19 every Saturday and Sunday during the month of April at their location in Arbor Crossing. Community members can support the program via GoFundMe or Venmo. (9333 Research Boulevard, North Austin)
- Vic and Al’s: The soon-to-open Cajun restaurant from the Patrizi’s family has been serving 50 to 100 meals a day via a community kitchen open for the duration of COVID-19, which will provide a free meal to anyone who needs it. Sign-ups for the week open on Sundays. The effort accepts donations via cash or Venmo (@VicandAls). (2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood)