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'DC Dines Out for Houston': Several area restaurants host Harvey relief donation drives

Chef at Ben's Chili Bowl prepares breakfast for DC Dines Out for Houston event taking place on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 (ABC7 photo) 

Taco Bamba in Falls Church, Virginia was bustling Thursday night.

“Twenty-nine!” an employee shouted bringing an order to the pick-up area, the smell of seasoned meat filling the air.

Del Frisco’s Double-Eagle Steak House in Washington, D.C., was busy as well, waiters shuttling to and from, carrying huge plates of food.

Both restaurants, were among three dozen eateries taking part in the "DC Dines Out for Houston" event.

“In times of crisis, even with 9/11, we come together as a family,” said Samuel Armstrong, a restaurant patron. ”We help each other out.”

The idea is simple. Participating restaurants take a portion of their proceeds, and donate those dollars to help the relief effort following Hurricane Harvey.

“People have lost everything,” said Del Frisco’s General Manger Kyle Gaffney.

The Texas-based Del Frisco chain, with 53 restaurants nationwide, is donating 20 percent of its profits through the weekend.

“We’re hoping to raise a million dollars for food banks and relief for the Houston area,” Gaffney declares. “In Houston, neighbors are going out and rescuing people all day long. That neighborly feel; the restaurant community in DC particularly feels that.”

Classic restaurants like Ben’s Chili Bowl are contributing 5 percent of their proceeds.

Oyamel and Jaleo, owned by chef Jose Andres, donated five percent of their proceeds Thursday, and will again on Saturday, to the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen (worldcentralkitchen.org) , an organization that feeds the hungry in devastated areas.

At Kapnos Taverna in Arlington, Virginia, the restaurant is doing its part, by paying out a dollar for every cocktail sold.

“Whenever we can do something like this and care for others, I mean, it’s kind of like the hospitality we give every person in our restaurants,” said Corporate Chef Adam Howard. “It’s a new way we can help others, and we’re happy to do so.”

“Any organization or individuals that have the ability to raise funds…it’s really good, reminds me of what we all should be thinking about these days,” said patron Kristen Rachinsky, of Fairfax, Virginia.

And then there’s Victor Albisu. The chef and owner of the Del Campo and Taco Bamba restaurants, and a member of World Central Kitchen, is now in Houston, working with Andres and other chefs to feed the displaced.

“There has been such a huge outpouring from the chef community,” said Albisu. “Cooking for 58,000 people a day. We’ve been able to process about 60,000 pounds of food so far.”

Right now, Albisu and his colleagues are working in the city’s convention center.

He hopes to expand the effort to area churches and schools.

“Our main purpose is to get people fed, and get food into the mouths of people who need it,” he said. “Whatever proceeds are donated to worldcentralkitchen.org go directly to the people who need food.”

Albisu said it’s encouraging to see how volunteers, the Red Cross, green organizations, and ordinary people are banding together to help in the recovery.

“There are still people living in the convention center, on the streets without shelter,” he explained. “There’s still a lot of difficult times ahead for a lot of people.”

Meanwhile, back in DC, Armstrong said he’s glad as a restaurant patron, to be able to help.

And glad too, that area chefs are using their culinary skills to help those in the Harvey flood zone.

“All we can do is pray,” he said. “We're just so happy that so many people are pitching in.”

Check out the full list of participating restaurants below:

  • Beefsteak
  • China Chilcano
  • Jaleo Bethesda
  • Jaleo Crystal City
  • Jaleo DC
  • Oyamel
  • Zaytinya
  • Busboys and Poets
  • 9:30 Club
  • Alta Strada City Vista
  • Aroma
  • Atomic Billiards
  • B Side
  • Bedrock Baltimore
  • Bedrock Billiards
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Ben’s Upstairs
  • Birch & Barley
  • Bluejacket
  • Buffalo Billiards - Dupont Circle
  • Buffalo Billiards - Gaithersburg
  • Buzz Bakery
  • Casolare Ristorante & Bar
  • CarPool- Ballston, CarPool - Herndon
  • Churchkey
  • Columbia Firehouse
  • Continental - Rosslyn
  • Conosci
  • Convivial
  • Cork Market and Tasting Room
  • Cork Wine Bar
  • Del Frisco's Grille Washington DC.
  • Eat Bar
  • Hazel
  • Iron Gate
  • James Mackey’s- 18th & L
  • James Mackey’s- Crystal City,
  • Mintwood
  • Mulebone
  • Nanny O’Brien’s
  • Next Door
  • Open City
  • Open City at the National Cathedral
  • Owens Ordinary
  • Perry’s
  • Planet Wine Shop
  • Red Apron
  • Red Apron Burger
  • RIS
  • Rocket Bar
  • Roofer’s Union
  • Rustico
  • The Board Room
  • The Coupe
  • The Diner
  • The Evening Star
  • The Laughing Man
  • The Partisan
  • The Riggsby
  • The Sovereign
  • Tico
  • Tryst
  • Velocity Grill
  • Vermilion

Visit the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's website for more information: http://ramw.org/harveyrelief

This story has been updated Friday, Sept.1, 2017

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