In Time of Crisis, DC Restaurants Step Up

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Various kinds of Eat Brgz burgers are snuggled in potato or cauliflower buns. Photo Celeste McCall

Today, Eastern Market’s Eat Brgz conducted large-scale food drops to all of the District’s 34 fire stations, manned by over 400 firefighter-EMTs, in an effort to support and uplift first responders caring for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The burger restaurant is the latest in a succession of District restaurants that are offering assistance to others in a time when the food service industry is facing a serious crisis. In a period of public emergency, restaurants were ordered to close dining rooms and restrict sales to delivery and take out as of 10 p.m. Monday March 16.

Many restaurant owners are providing integral community members and groups with complimentary meals during the restaurant shutdown. ThinkFoodGroup owner Jose Andres 

transformed some of his restaurants into Community Kitchens to offer to-go lunches for those who need a meal. Sunnyside Restaurant Group, which runs @wethepizza, @GoodStuffEater, and Santa Rosa Taqueria on Capitol Hill are offering free meals to kids while schools are closed:

EAT BRGZ owner Brandon Gaynor, pictured in April 2019. CCN

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Eat Brgz CEO Brandon Gaynor was set to help deliver a variety of chicken and beef burgers as well as grilled cheese sandwiches directly to FEMS stations.

In partnership with Food On The Stove, a local nonprofit dedicated to giving back to expert rescuers in the region, Gaynor also plans to act as a resource for other local restaurateurs interested in participating, and welcomes outreach via direct message on the Eat Brgz Instagram account (@eatbrgz) to help coordinate distribution.

In the meantime, support your restaurant workers, many of whom are out of work or working despite the public health emergency to keep others eating, and to keep businesses afloat. Buy online gift cards to support now and eat later,

The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) has established a Coronovirus Worker Relief Fund. You can donate here.

Barred in DC also reports that A Virtual Tip Jar —a list of Venmo accounts for local food service workers is available to send money directly to the affected. Clients can make contributions through Venmo to their favorite waiters, barkeeps and food service workers. The list will be updated daily at noon. Food service workers can add themselves online at googledocs.

On Tuesday, the Council approved emergency legislation to make immediate adjustments in response to the coronavirus emergency. That legislation made funds available to workers affected by COVID-19 via quarantine or business closures through unemployment insurance and Family Leave Act as well as expanding ways to assist local business.