Good food, good deeds
7 charitable Austin bars and restaurants to help you do good while dining out
Your alarm rings, you get the kids out the door, pull yourself together for a spin class, and do it all before rushing off for a full day at work. With the hectic pace of living in Austin, it’s no wonder that so many of us forget to take a moment to give back. But even on the busiest day, we all have to eat. So why not kill two birds with one stone?
These seven local restaurants have made community a part of their business model, donating profits to nonprofits and organizing for causes they believe in. Visit them often and let them inspire you to keep doing good.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
The ahi tuna burger may be tempting and the plant-based Impossible Burger is a must-try, but you can do right by your stomach and your community by ordering the Goodnight Good Cause. With Angus beef, Tillamook Cheddar, caramelized onions, jalapeños, and both hickory barbecue and tangy sassy sauce, it’s one of the tastiest burgers on the menu. And a $1 of each sale goes to helping those with spinal cord injuries through the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.
New Waterloo, the local hospitality group behind such spots as Le Politique, Sway, and La Condesa, is celebrating Pride Month for the rest of the year. The group is teaming up with LGBTQIA+ advocates Equality Texas to give 10 percent of dinner sales from one of its restaurants to the civil rights organization. Beginning July 2 at East Austin Italian joint Il Brutto, the program will move to a different restaurant on the first Monday of each month through February 2019. Follow New Waterloo on Facebook or Instagram to see the next participating spot.
King Bee Lounge
Although they don’t make much fuss about it, King Bee owners Colette Adelle-Dein Hankey and Billy Hankey have made giving the heart of their east side dive. In times of crisis, like the devastating 2017 hurricanes, they have organized donation drives for relief. At other times, they donate percentages of the bars profits or all their tips to organizations such as Inside Books Project (a nonprofit devoted to supplying books and educational materials to prisoners), LGBTQIA+ support group Out Youth, or homelessness relief group Caritas of Austin.
Treating all people fairly is the guiding principle behind this innovative Mueller neighborhood restaurant (and the winner of CultureMap’s 2018 Tastemaker Award for Restaurant of the Year). L’oca has made a commitment to stand up for the dignity of marginalized people, and is one of a handful of local eateries to sign up as a sanctuary restaurant. And that goes for its customers and employees. On June 26, the owners helped defend a challenge to Austin’s new sick leave policy, a new city ordinance requiring all private employers to allow workers to accrue paid sick time beginning October 1.
A sourdough grilled sandwich stuffed with green chili mac, cheddar, and applewood smoked bacon and tater tot “nachos” slathered in poblano ranch and fondue sound good, right? They're even more delicious when you realize the proceeds for each bite go to supporting global human rights organization International Justice Mission. Owner Anna Hutto founded the food truck after seeing hurricane devastation in the Dominican Republic. With some menu consulting help from Peached Tortilla’s Eric Silverstein, she made giving back her business — and she did it before turning 21.
The former home of East Austin’s Vintage Heart Coffee has been reborn as a new business that aims to do more than wake you up. Each quarter, the coffeeshop features three local charities like Austin Pets Alive!, youth mentoring and leadership project Explore Austin, and Casa Marianella, an emergency homeless shelter catering to recently arrived immigrants and asylum seekers. Guests vote for the nonprofits with each coffee purchase and the shop donates 10 percent of the profits to the organization with the most votes.
Salt Traders Coastal Kitchen
With a menu featuring fresh oysters, steamed mussels, wood-fired salmon, and seared scallops, chef Jack Gilmore’s Round Rock favorite have a stake in preserving each sea to shining sea. That’s why it relies on vendors along America’s coasts that sustainably harvest fish. But the commitment to clean oceans goes beyond sourcing. This restaurant puts its money where your mouth is by donating proceeds from its popular Gulf of Mexico shrimp cocktail to the Coastal Conservation Association, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the nation’s waterways for future generations.