Our Favorite Charitable Restaurants

Charitable Restaurants

Dec. 22, 2017 | 4

It’s no wonder that restaurants are the bedrocks of their communities: 94% of restaurants make charitable contributions that total up to a stunning $3 billion a year. Roughly 70% are cash donations, and the remaining contributions are made in food or services to local charities and organizations. Major chains are some of the biggest contributors. With their large scale budgets, restaurant chains spearhead special projects or have long lists of customers to call on for support.

As is so often the case, restaurants are also some of the first to respond to a national crisis. This year especially, with the number of intensely damaging fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters that took place, the aid of restaurants was ever so important. In the days after Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, independent restaurants, McDonald’s and the Waffle House reopened quickly to offer food to displaced locals.  

That’s just one example of the giving nature of our industry. Below we share a few of our favorite charitable restaurants in the United States.

Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, California

Food lovers from San Francisco know and love Mission Chinese Food. Famous for its spicy, authentic Sichuan chili sauce, a whole duck dish, and for having a great selection of appetizers, Mission Chinese Food is a true gem in a city that heaves with all-star restaurants. But what sets Mission Chinese Food apart from its competition is that the owners donate $0.75 from every entrée to the SF-Marin Food Bank, which supplies two meals for every $1 donated.

A New York City outpost opened a couple years ago with the same charitable business model.

Homegirl Café in Los Angeles, California

This coffee shop is a local legend. Serving healthy, farm-to-table recipes with a Latino twist and an eye-opening cup of joe, Homegirl Café gives refuge to women and men seeking a life outside of crime. It’s a place “where homegirls serve tables instead of serving time.” They provide support to women seeking an exit from gangs, and aid in all areas of life—both professional and personal—such as getting a GED or building a resume.

The Giving Kitchen in Atlanta, Georgia

In memory of acclaimed chef Ryan Hidinger, who was suddenly diagnosed with stage-four cancer, the Giving Kitchen was established as a 100% not-for-profit restaurant. The Giving Kitchen gives crisis grants to other members of Atlanta’s restaurant community “who are in financial need, to help cover the cost of living expenses while they recover from an accident, unanticipated illness, or natural disaster.”

The inspiration for the Giving Kitchen was the Atlanta restaurant community itself, which responded quickly and lovingly to Hidinger’s diagnosis with an outpouring of donations. The restaurant Hidinger and his wife ran for years, the Staplehouse, is still open, and supports the costs of running the Giving Kitchen.

FareStart in Seattle, Washington

The FareStart offers every employee a fair chance to start a new life path. Helping former convicts or addicts through its Adult Culinary Program, as well as troubled youth, the FareStart helps to train and place Seattle’s forgotten population into new jobs. Not only does this restaurant help save lives, the restaurant reviews are outstanding, with commenters applauding the customer service and consistently well-prepared menu.  

Oregon’s Public House in Portland, Oregon

Oregon’s Public House has a stand-out title as the “World’s First Non-Profit Pub.” It’s slogan? Have a pint. Change the world. As the craft-brewing capital, Portland is home to dozens of world-class breweries. And despite its stiff competition, Oregon’s Public House stands out for its great beers, and most of all, its mission statement: 100% of the profits go to charities and organizations, donating thousands of dollars every month to its charity partners. Customers even get to choose where their money goes to from a long list of charities.

For more warm and fuzzy feelings, check out our favorite uplifting restaurant stories.

Dec. 22, 2017 | BY Emma Alois

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