These Austin Restaurants Are Standing Up for Their Staff During COVID-19 Pandemic

Shining a light on the extra efforts of special local eateries

Everyone is struggling during this pandemic, but COVID-19 has hit the service industry particularly hard. Many restaurants have closed, and those still open have had to reduce their operations, leading to less work and less money for servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff.

Some local restaurants have decided to forgo the takeout and delivery options in order to keep their employees fed while they’re out of work. Others remain open but are still going the extra mile for their work family. Consider supporting these businesses by buying a gift card, ordering to-go if they’re open, or adding them to your list of places to go post-pandemic.

L'Oco d'Oro (Photo by John Anderson)

Family Meals

Minamoto Foods High-end fish distributor Minamoto Foods is supplying free fish to the service industry community. They are also sending whole fish to restaurants that are open for family meals. Support them by supporting their buyers – restaurants like Lucky Robot, Uchi, and Red Ash.

Odd Duck Odd Duck has closed in order to provide meals to employees of all three of their restaurants. Sour Duck remains open, and a GoFundMe has been set up for Odd Duck employees.

Parkside All Parkside projects, including Parkside, The Backspace, Olive & June, Vamonos, and Jugo are offering free to-go family meals for their staff daily. These meals will be half-off for service industry folks that are not employees of Parkside. These businesses remain open for pickup.

Patrizi’s Patrizi’s is open for to-go service, but Nic Patrizi’s new concept, Vic & Al’s, has been turned into a service-industry soup kitchen. 5 people are allowed per 15-minute time slot to get a free hot meal (with an opportunity to purchase a bottle of wine).

Veracruz All Natural Veracruz All Natural has closed all five of their locations to focus on feeding their employees.

Vixen’s Wedding Vixen’s Wedding is working on providing weekly care packages for staff.

Paid Sick Leave

JuiceLand Offers paid sick leave to employees. Open for pickup.

L’Oca d’Oro L’Oco d’Oro has expanded paid leave for employees, and offers access to a primary care doctor. The restaurant remains open for pickup and delivery.

The Soup Peddler The Soup Peddler remains open for pickup and delivery, and is still managing to offer unlimited paid sick days to employees (practically unheard-of in the restaurant industry).

Other Benefits

Eden East Eden East has set up a GoFundMe to benefit employees affected by the closure.

Emmer & Rye Profits from gift card purchases will be put in an emergency fund for employees. The restaurant remains open for pickup and delivery.

Fluff Meringues & More Offered to pay accrued PTO/sick leave; ordered/gave three weeks of groceries for all employees.

Home Slice Home Slice Pizza is covering copay costs for employees that want to see a doctor and/or get tested. Open for takeout and delivery.

Hundred For Hospitality Hundred For Hospitality is partnering with local restaurants including P. Terry’s, Austin’s Pizza, Old Thousand, Burro Cheese Kitchen, Peached Tortilla, MezzeMe Turkish Kitchen, Easy Tiger, and Chi'lantro, who will feed 100 hospitality workers per day. All public proceeds will go toward participating restaurant costs to cover food, supplies, and staffing to provide the meals. Free meals will be available to unemployed or underemployed hospitality workers beginning Monday, March 30.

Lenoir Lenoir has taken several steps to help employees survive the pandemic, including paid sick leave, access to a primary care doctor, and setting up a GoFundMe. The restaurant remains open for pickup.

New Waterloo New Waterloo (Café No Sé, Central Standard, Il Brutto, La Condesa, La Matta, Le Politique, Mañana, Otoko, Sway, Watertrade) is hosting a digital telethon on March 26, 3-8pm to benefit the 550 people they employ. All profits will go to employees. Sway is open for pickup.

Nova Hospitality Nova Hospitality includes TenTen (modern Japanese), Devil May Care (elevated Mediterranean), and Nova's Kitchen (gourmet salads and build-your-own bowls) -- all will be offering delivery and pickup only, including alcohol. 100% of profits and gratuity will be donated to displaced Nova Hospitality staff.

Sweet Ritual Employees were provided with two weeks pay upon temporary closure of the scoop shop.

Tiny Pies All sales from orders are going directly to the Tiny Pies staff. Offering delivery via third party and phone orders as well as curbside. In addition to their usual delicious sweet pies, they've now added savory (chicken and vegetarian pot pies) for extra sustenance.

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