June 29, 2022



Houston restaurants are raising money for Ukrainians affected by Russia’s invasion

2 min read

Houstonians are used to rolling up their sleeves and helping people affected by disasters. But this time it’s not because of a hurricane at home.

Restaurants in Houston are raising money for Ukrainians whose lives have been disrupted by Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European country.

Kenny & Ziggy’s, the New York-style deli owned by beloved Houston food personality Ziggy Gruber, announced on Monday that it would be sending aid to Ukraine — and it will do so with meatballs.

The deli will donate a portion of its sales of Ukrainian meatballs, a popular menu item that comes with brown gravy or sweet-and-sour sauce.

Kenny & Ziggy’s will contribute $4 for every main course order of meatballs ($23.95) and $2 for every appetizer order ($13.95). The aid effort will run indefinitely.

The deli is sending these funds to Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit that is providing medical supplies such as tourniquets, bandages, combat gauzes and sterile pads to affected residents, as well as humanitarian aid and support for volunteers on-site.

Chris Shepherd’s Underbelly Hospitality is also stepping up by donating funds to World Central Kitchen (WCK), an organization founded by chef José Andrés that feeds those affected by disasters.

The nonprofit currently has a team placed in Poland, feeding Ukrainian refugees crossing the border to escape Russian hostilities.

Three Underbelly Hospitality restaurants have each selected a day on which 100 percent of beverage revenue will go toward WCK: Georgia James Tavern will donate its proceeds on March 10, Georgia James on March 11 and Wild Oats on March 13.

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Additionally, wine director Matthew Pridgen created a temporary wine list at Georgia James from which 20 percent of every bottle sold will be donated to WCK. The fundraising will begin on March 8 and continue until the restaurant leaves its temporary space at 1658 Westheimer to open in Regent Square, which is currently planned for May.

Individual staff is helping Ukraine too. Underbelly Hospitality’s director of operations, Nina Quincy, is traveling to Poland to volunteer for WCK for a week.

Last week, FOX26 reported that Lucille’s Hospitality donated $10,000 to aid in Ukraine, including to CARE and the National Bank of Ukraine.

Chef-owner Chris Williams knows Ukraine well. He spent some time in the country when he served as a cultural culinary ambassador for the U.S. State Department from 2015 to 2019.

Williams also told the TV station that his restaurant, Lucille’s, will continue donating a portion of its profits on a weekly basis.


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