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What Restaurants Really Stepped Up For The Community This Year? The Friends of Eater Chime In

The restaurant industry really came together to support each other ins 2020

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Free food event for those in need Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As we (finally!) put a cap on 2020, Eater surveyed a group of friends, writers, and all around experts for their take on the past year. We asked them ten questions: from top standbys to top newcomers, from best meals to restaurants they’ve broken up with. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2020. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Responses do not necessarily reflect the views of Eater and Eater Miami.

Belkys Nerey (WSVN 7): Tropical Chinese had a donation jar at the front door and used the money to pass out food to needy families. Even when the jar got stolen, Mei, the owner didn’t let that stop her from continuing the mission. That’s just one story. I am sure there are many others out there.

Giovanny Gutierrez (Chat Chow TV/Eater Miami photographer): Every single restaurant that partnered up with Jose Andrés’ World Central Kitchen/Frontline Foods that helped strengthen our Miami community and fed the frontline workers with food during the crisis.

Matthew Meltzer (Thrillist Miami): Caribe Cafe was literally giving people food during the height of the pandemic, which I thought was cool. Havana Restaurant up in West Palm did weekly food drives with the local police, which both helped feed hungry people and got police doing some community outreach, which seems especially important this year.

Gretchen Schmidt (Edible South Florida): There were many: Threefold Cafe, All-Day Miami, Babe’s Meat and Counter and Ariete were among those who swiftly changed their business models to bring in local produce and staples for consumers during the early days of the pandemic when supply chains had to reset. Their motivation was two-fold – feeding consumers but keeping their own staff working, even if it meant making line cooks delivery people and other adjustments.

David Rosendorf (Food For Thought): I’d actually like to focus on Food Rescue Miami, which has worked with a bunch of local restaurants over the past year to provide meals for those in need. Through Food Rescue, Chef Creole, Rosie’s, Clive’s Cafe, Kush, Stanzione 87, Boia De, Naomi’s Garden, Taquiza, Big Mama’s BBQ, Cafe La Trova, Red Rooster, Alter, and more have been able to supply and distribute over 50,000 free meals all around Miami.

Stacy Moya (Eater Miami Contributor): I thought that the free Thanksgiving meals from Cafe La Trova was a very nice gesture.

Alona Martinez (Eater Miami Contributor): Some of our smallest spots showed us how big their hearts are. When celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s, at that time unopened, Red Rooster location started making meals to those in need, its Overtown neighbor, Rosie’s, a pop-up run by the talented husband and wife duo of Copper Door B&B, provided lunch to all the first responders delivering those meals. Boia De regularly gave away its famed chicken sandwich to anyone in need and Palmar, Wynwood’s celebrated Chinese spot, delivered 4000 meals to needy schoolchildren in Miami Dade.

Sara Liss (Author of Miami Cooks): All the restaurants that participated in meal programs with World Central Kitchen and Food Rescue Miami were doing the good work of feeding people and keeping their staff busy, it was inspiring to see.

Kelly Blanco (NBC 6): Stiltsville did a lot of the frontline food work. I think pizza bar did a great job donating pies to all the first responders for months. The South Beach Wine & Food team also stepped it up tremendously with their donations and bake sales.