Food news

Things to know in Austin food right now: Ways to support local restaurant community

Things to know in Austin food: Ways to support restaurant community

Safe Table RBJ Center
Good Work Austin has worked throughout the pandemic to get meals to locals in need. Photo by Kelly West

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

News, notes, and ways to help

Austin’s taco mafia food trucks are returning to business after going above and beyond to feed the Austin community. On Tuesday, February 23, Nixta Taqueria, Discada, La Tunita 512, Dough Boys, and Trill Foods will resume their usual hours of operations, giving Austin eaters the chance to give back to these local restaurants, whose operations combined forces last week to prepare 3,250 free meals for East Austin communities in need along with nonprofit Tankproof in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. 

For those seeking opportunities to give back to Austin’s vulnerable communities: Del Valle Community Coalition is seeking volunteers to help with the organization and distribution of meal kits for its future relief events. Interested parties can find sign-up info for daily distribution opportunities here. Elsewhere, nonprofit Brighter Bites is in need of volunteers to distribute fresh produce boxes to families in need on Tuesday, February 22, and Wednesday, February 23 (timeslots vary). Lastly, political advocacy group, Workers Defense Project is seeking volunteers to help distribute water from its office at 5604 Manor Rd. this week; interested parties can sign up online.

After a brutal week of subzero temperatures, power outages, and no water, local food-centric organizations are still in need of donations. Here are three worthy nonprofits in need of direct financial support.

  • Good Work Austin is currently taking donations to continue its work making meals for locals while supporting restaurant staff. It's also working with Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen to help with disaster relief.
  • Austin’s premier BIPOC queer-focused marketplace Frida Fridays is raising money to supply hot meals and direct financial relief to its Austin community members. Financial donations can be made via the organization’s Venmo account @fridafridayatx, or by purchasing apparel from Lumpia City.
  • Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is seeking financial donations via GoFundMe to help thousands of small, sustainable family farmers and ranchers in Texas who are experiencing a massive loss of crops and/or severely crippled infrastructure. 

As energy bills pile up and food resources remain scarce for Austin residents, one local craft beer personality is helping locals stretch their dollar. After turning his kitchen into a makeshift food bank to service friends and neighbors in his South Austin community, FullClip Craft Distributors account manager (and Austin Beer Guide’s 2017 “Best Beer Personality”) Tim Vela took time to compile a free list of low-cost recipes inspired by his own days of stretching a paycheck. “I made the document after I started making pizzas for people in need from ingredients I just had in my pantry,” Vela tells CultureMap. “ I realized how cheap these ingredients were.” The recipes found on Vela’s Cheap Easy Eats google doc include such flavorful dishes as a veggie-heavy stew, Crock Pot carnitas, and cheese pizza, all of which range in price from $1.50 - $17.50 for all necessary ingredients. Vela also tells CultureMap plans to add more recipes to the list throughout the week, along with recipes submitted to him by friends and associates.