2 beloved Austin businesses cash in on Yelp’s new $100,000 fund for Texas

2 beloved Austin businesses cash in on Yelp’s new $100K Texas fund

House Park Bar-B-Cue before fire
House Park Bar-B-Cue is one of five Texas recipients of Yelp's new fund. House Park Bar-B-Cue/Facebook

Some small businesses and families in Texas that are still enduring the crushing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the lasting and costly nuisances created by Winter Storm Uri in February, could get a little fix-it money from a popular website.

Crowd-sourced business-review site Yelp is declaring Thursday, August 26 Make It Happen Day in Texas, and has established a correlating $100,000 fund to benefit small businesses and consumers throughout the state that have recently fallen on difficult times. Yelp is tapping the talents of actress and sometimes Austinite Brooklyn Decker to help spread the word.

Yelp plans to donate $50,000 ($10,000 each) to help five businesses across the state make much-needed repairs and updates to their establishments, including Austin’s House Park Bar-B-Cue and Austin Pets Alive!

Austin’s oldest barbecue joint, House Park Bar-B-Cue, was engulfed in fire in early December 2020 and remains closed temporarily as the restaurant works to raise funds to rebuild.

Another local recipient of Yelp contributions, Austin Pets Alive!, the beloved nonprofit animal shelter, rescued more than 1,040 dogs and cats from across Texas during the historic winter storm and is always in need of funding.

Other Texas establishments that are cashing in thanks to Yelp’s fund include:

  • San Antonio’s Comfort Café, which Yelp recently named the No. 1 place to eat in Texas and the No. 1 brunch spot in the country. The donation-based nonprofit eatery was damaged by flooding earlier this year and remains temporarily closed.
  • Casita Tex Mex in Dallas, which was damaged by an electrical fire in December 2020 and has yet to reopen, as building updates are still needed.
  • The Big Easy, a Houston blues club, which was closed for 18 months during the pandemic and will use the funds to make repairs to the stage, the bar area, floors, and the walk-in cooler.

“After seeing all of the damage from Winter Storm Uri and recent storms and flooding and other unforeseen events with lasting impacts, we also saw how strongly the community came together to support one another,” says Jonathan Truong, Texas regional manager at Yelp. “As a company that connects people with great local service professionals, we are thrilled to be able to lend a helping hand to fellow Texans so they can make necessary repairs to their homes and the beloved independent businesses that are central to the community.”

But it’s not just favorite Texas establishments that are getting a monetary boost from Yelp. As a part of the company’s Make It Happen Day, Yelp is giving 50 Texans a chance to win $1,000 to put toward their own home projects. Texans can enter to win by using Yelp’s Request a Quote feature to find a home-services pro in their area, and submitting the quote at on Thursday, August 26. Check out the official rules here.

“To give back to Texans across the state, I’ve partnered with Yelp to launch a $100,000 Make It Happen Day fund,” says Decker, known for her role in Netflix hit Grace and Frankie and as the wife of Austin sports legend Andy Roddick.

“We had a tough year and spent more time in our homes than ever before. I’m glad we can bring some much-needed good news to those looking to make necessary repairs and updates. I can’t wait to see all the great projects Texans will spearhead to spruce up their homes and small businesses.”