Donation efforts are also keeping restaurant staff employed in a time of crisis and uncertainty for the food industry.

Salad prep with the newly founded Meals of Gratitude, which is delivering meals from Flea Street Cafe in Menlo Park to local health care workers. (Image courtesy of Jesse Cool)

Several local restaurants are donating meals to people in need, health care workers and first responders during the coronavirus shutdown. Below is information about their efforts, which have the dual impact of feeding others while supporting the restaurants themselves.

If you’re aware of any others, please email [email protected] or leave the relevant information in a comment at the bottom of the story.

Some local restaurants staying open for takeout and delivery have also committed to donating all or a portion of sales to support their staff. For more, view this interactive map, which we’re continuing to update.

A list of restaurants raising funds for their own staff is also included at the bottom of this story.

Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside is offering a gift card plan to help local residents in need. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

Alice’s Restaurant, Woodside

At Alice’s Restaurant, customers can purchase gift cards that will be made available for other diners who can’t afford to cover the cost of their meals. The restaurant raised about $1,000 on Sunday, March 22, in donated gift cards.

“What we’re trying to do is get ahead of the curve here,” said co-owner Andy Kerr. “We think that this is going to get worse financially for a lot of people in the area and that people are not going to have a lot of disposable income to eat.”

Kerr and his brother, who run the Woodside restaurant, have also fed several families in need at the restaurant out of their own pockets.

Purchasing gift cards also supports Alice’s, where the owners have had to lay off two-thirds of their staff and those that remain are working scaled-back hours.

How to help: To purchase a gift card, go to Alice’s in person or online at alicesrestaurant.com.

The Barn, Half Moon Bay

For every $20 donated, The Barn will deliver a burger, fries and cookie to an employee at Seton Medical Center Coastside in Moss Beach on April 4.

How to help: To donate, go to thebarnhmb.com/#promos.

Bay Watch Restaurant, Burlingame

Bay Watch Restaurant is closed but the owners, who have five family members who work in the medical field, are raising funds to deliver meals to the nearby Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. A $100 contribution will feed 10 medical professionals.

“As hospitals are running at a higher capacity than normal and with more restaurants closing due to lack of business, medical staff has less options and no time to order food to keep themselves properly nourished,” said co-owner Kathleen Wong. “With programs like this, we can all combine our efforts to help support our community through these dire times.”

How to help: Email [email protected] or call (650) 692–2226 to leave a voicemail. Provide your name, phone number, meal type and amount and best time to be contacted.

Stanford Hospital workers about to chow down on some of Bevri’s authentic Georgian fare. (Image via Bevri’s website)

Bevri, Palo Alto

Georgian restaurant Bevri has joined the national Frontline Foods initiative to deliver meals to Stanford Hospital workers. A $100 donation provides a meal for five people.

How to help: To donate, go to bevri.com/help-a-doc-and-a-nurse.

Bird Dog, Palo Alto

Starting April 6, Bird Dog will provide $25 individual dinners to staff at Stanford Healthcare. The restaurant has already started raising funds to support the donated meals.

“We not only want to provide sustenance to these heroes — we hope to provide a moment of enjoyment and respite,” the owners said.

How to help: To donate, go to gofundme.com/f/bird-dog-meal-donations.

Coffeebar, Menlo Park, Redwood City

At Coffeebar, drinks and pastries are free for medical professionals. People can also donate to support this effort by purchasing gift cards online and writing “FRONTLINES” in the notes.

How to help: To purchase a gift card, go to coffeebar.com.

#FeedTheNeed, Los Gatos

Flights Restaurants owner Alex Hult, in partnership with the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations, started a fundraiser, #FeedTheNeed, to provide emergency financial relief to local employees and vulnerable residents of Los Gatos and surrounding neighborhoods. The funds will go to Los Gatos restaurant and retail workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and to provide free meals to local nonprofits, food banks, shut-in senior citizens and low-income families in Los Gatos. They have raised more than $40,000 to date through a GoFundMe campaign and cash donations, Hult said, and are feeding between 400 to 600 people daily.

Hult is working with local service providers, churches and community organizations to identify people in need.

People older than 65 years old and affected restaurant employees can also pick up free meals that feed six people at Flights in Los Gatos (165 Saratoga-Los Gatos Road). Call 408–354–3434 for the meals.

(This week, Hult launched a drive-through, no-contact “grocery store” at the Los Gatos Flights. People can order items like milk, bread, eggs, alcohol, toilet paper and local food products from their cars and Flights staff will bring it to them curbside. The store is open daily from noon to 7 p.m.)

How to help: To donate to the #FeedTheNeed fundraiser, go to gofundme.com. Donations can also be mailed to Los Gatos Chamber Hospitality Fund, 10 Station Way, Los Gatos, CA 95030.

Fundraiser for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley

Several Bay Area food businesses, including Noodles & Things in San Mateo and Millbrae, have partnered to raise money for the Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, which provides food to a quarter of a million people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties every month.

“As the crisis continues, we expect to see an increase in need as businesses are shutting down and community members are losing their jobs, forcing them to deplete their savings while still providing for their family,” the organizers wrote.

A $1 donation translates into enough food for two meals, they said.

Anton SV Pâtisserie will match every donation up to $2,000.

As of March 29, the group had raised $7,000 — enough for at least 14,000 meals.

How to help: To donate, go to facebook.com/fundraiser.

Go Fish Poke Bar, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Santa Clara

Go Fish Poke Bar is delivering meals weekly to local hospitals. The owners will match each meal donated.

How to help: To donate, go to gofishpokebar.com and go to order online.

Kali Greek Kitchen, Palo Alto

Kali Greek Kitchen is donating meals to local healthcare workers at a hospital of the donor’s choosing.

How to help: To donate a meal, go to kaligreekkitchen.com.

The makeshift food bank at Kizler Coffee in Pacifica. (Image via Kizler Coffee’s Instagram)

Kizler Coffee, Pacifica

Kizler Coffee, which remains open for takeout, is now also doubling as a food and toy bank.

A corner of the Coastside coffee shop is now full of donated cans of tomato sauce, boxed pasta, fresh fruit, board games and other toys.

Donations have come in organically as word spread through social media, NextDoor and word of mouth, said owner-namesake Josh Kizler. Two interested customers started leading the initiative, organizing the stock and acting as liaisons with the Pacifica Resource Center, which provides food, housing assistance, and other services to Pacifica families. People can drop items or funds off in person.

Anyone in need can grab food or toys from the coffee shop.

“We do not screen. If people need, they can have,” Kizler said.

He also partnered with the Pacifica Mothers Club to serve as a designated location for N95 masks for medical professionals.

Kizler is working with local, small businesses that have had to close their doors to sell their products at zero markup at the coffee shop.

“I know there is a lot of uncertainty during these times and I would like to share how incredibly a community can pull together for its members,” he said. “We have lots of business spaces that have begun to further isolate people, and these spaces can become community spaces that help rather than isolate.”

How to help: To donate, email [email protected]. For updates, go to facebook.com/kizlercoffee/.

La Viga Seafood, Redwood City

La Viga is offering free to-go meals to unemployed service industry workers Monday-Saturday from 2–4 p.m. People should call the restaurant in advance to request a meal (650–679–8141) and can pick up at the restaurant at 1772 Broadway, Redwood City.

A portion of La Viga’s overall sales are also being allocated to pay the restaurant’s out-of-work hourly staff.

Meals of Gratitude is a new nonprofit providing meals to local medical staff. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Cool)

Meals of Gratitude, Menlo Park

Jesse Cool of Menlo Park restaurant Flea Street Cafe and a group of local residents founded Meals of Gratitude, a new nonprofit raising money to provide meals to Bay Area healthcare providers and support staff.

“Our providers are working so hard and being so brave for all of us,” the organization’s website reads. “Many of them are separating themselves from their families to protect them which in turn increases their burden and stress. We want to show them how much we as a community support them.”

The group delivered its first 75 meals to Stanford Health Care workers this week.

The meals are made at Flea Street Cafe with local ingredients to support local farms, ranchers, dairies and other producers — and also help keep the staff needed to make the meals employed. Flea Street has been able to hire back nearly 75% of its employees, Cool said.

All donations go towards labor and ingredients (and are tax-deductible).

How to help: To donate, go to mealsofgratitude.org/.

Namesake Cheesecake, Menlo Park

Namesake Cheesecake will deliver donated cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods to local hospital emergency rooms, respiratory units and other departments.

How to help: Call 650–833–9529 to donate an order.

Taro San Japanese Noodle Bar, Palo Alto

Taro San Japanese Noodle Bar is delivering meals weekly to local hospitals. The owners will match each meal donated.

How to help: To donate, go to tarosanudon.com and click order online.

Taverna sous chef Jose Alarcon sautés greens on March 17, 2020. The Palo Alto Greek restaurant has pivoted to takeout and is donating meals to people in need. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

Taverna, Palo Alto

Palo Alto Greek restaurant Taverna is accepting donations to provide free meals to people in need.

“We hope to serve anyone in need of a meal … no questions asked,” said co-owner Thanasis Pashalidis.

Pashalidis is also working to partner with the Ravenswood Education Foundation, which supports families in the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, and local charities.

The effort is helping Taverna keep its staff employed at a time of crisis for the restaurant industry.

“Our community and our industry is an ecosystem. Bringing things full circle, these funds will allow us to employ our valued workforce, provide meals to our community and continue the supply chain with our vendors,” Pashalidis said.

The meals include a half Greek roasted chicken, lemon oregano potatoes, tzatziki, homemade pita, salad, steamed local greens and rice pudding.

How to help: Call 650–304–3840 to request a meal for yourself or others in need. To donate, go to gofundme.com or call the same number and mention the “Taverna Family Meal fund.”

Tootsie’s at the Stanford Barn, Palo Alto

Tootsie’s owner Rocco Scordella launched an “adopt a doctor and a nurse” menu to allow people to donate meals to staff at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. People can choose a specific department to send the food to and if not, the hospital will determine where it’s most needed.

As of Sunday, March 22, Tootsie’s had received donations for nearly 2,000 meals.

How to help: Email your order at [email protected] or text Scordella at 347–633–7132.

Town & Country Village, Palo Alto

Three restaurants at Town & Country Village — Asian Box, Lulu’s Mexican Food and Kirk’s Steakburgers — are delivering donated meals to front-line medical, hospital and public safety personnel, including at Stanford Health Care and the Palo Alto Fire Department.

How to help: To donate and for more information, go to tandcvillage.com/event-promotion/donate-meals-to-front-line-personnel.

Tuba, Palo Alto

Tuba in downtown Palo Alto (535 Bryant St.) is offering free meals, no questions asked, to anyone in need on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal comes with chicken, rice, hummus and pita.

Waterdog Tavern, Belmont

Belmont’s Waterdog Tavern is donating dinners to healthcare workers at local hospitals. 10% of takeout sales will also go to support the meals effort.

How to help: To donate, go to waterdogtavern.com.

From left: Boxed lunches from Wursthall (deviled egg salad sandwiches, roasted broccoli and Austrian-style potato salad) that were donated this past weekend to San Francisco General Hospital and the Oakland Fire Training Center; Kenji López-Alt, left, with Wursthall co-owner Adam Simpson. (Photos via by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s Instagram and Veronica Weber)

Wursthall, San Mateo

Kenji López-Alt of Wursthall in San Mateo is raising money to deliver free meals to people in need, health care workers and first responders.

López-Alt has been delivering meals to various organizations this week, including Samaritan House San Mateo, Oakland Fire Training Center and San Francisco General emergency room.

He also plans to share the recipes for these meals. (A recent one came with deviled egg salad sandwiches on Japanese shokupan, roasted broccoli with pumpkin seed vinaigrette and Austrian-style potato salad.) He recently posted a YouTube video of pulled pork sauerbraten sandwiches he made for the Samaritan House.

How to help: To donate: go to patreon.com/kenjilopezalt. If you purchase any of López-Alts’ books, including his well-known “The Food Lab” or his new children’s book, 100% of the sales commission will go to support the free meals.

Zareen’s, Palo Alto, Mountain View

Zareen’s has partnered with Frontline Foods to deliver weekly lunches to a COVID-19 screening team at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

How to help: To donate a meal, go to zareensrestaurant.com and click “order takeout.”

Peninsula restaurant/bar GoFundMe campaigns:

Alana’s Cafe and Sixto Cantina, Burlingame
Avenir Restaurant Group, multiple restaurants (Nola, The Alpine Inn, Milagros, Town). The group’s ownership team and vendors have committed to matching the first $50,000 they raise.
Buck’s, Woodside
Delizie, San Carlos
Fundraiser for Foothill College dining staff who were laid off due to the campus closure
The Grill House, Redwood City
Mademoiselle Colette, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Redwood City
Maum, Palo Alto
Mistral Restaurant & Bar, Redwood Shores
Nighthawk, Redwood City
Quinto Sol, Sol and Vive Sol, Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View
San Carlos small businesses
Sun of Wolf, Palo Alto
Tacolicious, multiple locations
Zola, Palo Alto

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Elena Kadvany

A writer with a passion for investigative reporting, telling untold stories and public-service journalism, I have built my career covering education and restaurants in the Bay Area. My blog and biweekly newsletter, Peninsula Foodist, is the go-to source for restaurant news in Silicon Valley. My work has been published in The Guardian, Eater, Bon Appetit’s Healthyish, SF Weekly and The Six Fifty.

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