Food News: Restaurant Developments as Pandemic Continues

Big donations to feed those affected, plus a ghost hall appears.

By Timothy Malcolm April 8, 2020

You can get food from Bravery Chef Hall's The Blind Goat, along with take-home pasta kits from BOH, all in one order.

It has been three weeks since restaurants across the Houston area were ordered to stop dining room service. Since, many have pivoted to keep selling food to customers, with most establishments turning to take-out and delivery services: Check out our big list of take-out and delivery options throughout the area.

Most restaurants are now offering a bevy of specials, family meals, and kits to keep the offerings unique and ever-changing. Check out Theodore Rex, for one, which has brought back Justin Yu's old Money Cat brunches and rolls out a new patty melt on Mondays.

Some restaurants decided to close operations for the time being. Nancy's Hustle announced a pause last week, and the SusieCakes chain decided to temporarily shut all locations two weeks ago.

Two of the Ford Fry restaurants in town—La Lucha, Superica—which closed nearly two weeks ago, are re-opening for pick-up on Monday, per an announcement Wednesday. 

"Our number one priority remains the well-being and safety of our team and our communities, and we feel we can re-open responsibly with lean, efficient teams to prevent further spread of the virus and ensure we are keeping our teams healthy and employed," said Fry in a statement.

Bravery Ghost Hall

Food halls are in an unusual position. While the concepts inside those halls could easily transform to take-out-only, the entire operation relies a lot on walk-in customers from nearby office buildings and residences. With people throughout Houston in quarantine, it limits that regular traffic.

Bravery Chef Hall is responding by leaning hard into delivery (pick-up still permitted), turning the Downtown hall into a ghost kitchen. The usual Bravery concepts are there, along with eateries that are set to open this year at food halls also operated by Company of Nomads, which runs Bravery. Those concepts include health-focused Watever Fresh and League City-based Polish food favorite Pierogi Queen

"As we were in the process of building out multiple properties when the pandemic hit, we have been asking tenants of our upcoming projects if they would like to join our merry little band and increase the culinary diversity of the our ghost hall," said Bravery partner Shepard Ross in an email. "This way, we can provide a safe and secure environment for them to work and earn income and keep as many of our collective staff employed."

Ross says employees are screened twice daily in a process that includes a temperature check. Gloves are used, items are constantly sanitized, and on deliveries, vehicles have flip-down windows to eliminate human contact. 

The hall is also running a marketplace, where you can order frozen pizza, pasta and sauce kits from BOH Pasta & Pizza, burger night kits, whole-bean coffee, and more. You can also donate meals to hospital staff members via the marketplace. 

Giving Back

Plenty of initiatives are helping hospital workers, first responders, and hospitality workers during the pandemic.

Second Servings has partnered with Sysco and Hess Corporation to donate 10,000 meals weekly to unemployed hospitality staff. Distribution of frozen family meals takes place from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays at 702 Avenida De Las Americas. Hospitality workers must present a recent paystub showing their present or former place of employment. To volunteer with Second Servings, click here.

At the Houston Food Bank, a $250,000 donation from ExxonMobil will bring about 1 million meals to Houston-area residents affected by the pandemic.

"This generous donation from ExxonMobil will allow us to provide food for children, senior citizens, and families, including the most vulnerable, those who don’t have the means to have reserves of food and other necessities," said Brian Greene, president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank. "We thank ExxonMobil for being an amazing partner, especially in this unprecedented time of need.”

The Montgomery County Food Bank will also receive $50,000 from ExxonMobil.

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