Baltimore Restaurant Owner Opts Out Of Restaurant Week To Feed The Homeless Instead
Huffington Post-This restaurateur is serving up something extra special for summer.
Michael Tabrizi, the owner of Tabrizi’s restaurant in Baltimore, will partner with shelters to feed homeless people instead of participating in the city’s restaurant week this year, Baltimore Magazine reported.
“I decided that, after all of the chaos earlier this year, it would be better to do something for the city to unite the people,” he told the magazine.
The official Baltimore Restaurant Week is celebrating its 10th anniversary from July 24 to August 2, according to Dine Downtown Baltimore. Participating restaurants are offering multi-course, pre-fixe meals, but Tabrizi will serve up an extra special menu for his own “Homeless Restaurant Week,” from July 20 to 25.
“We’re serving a nutritious meal, sparkling apple cider and ice cream,” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.
Tabrizi’s normally operates as a Mediterranean restaurant and large-scale event venue, popular for wedding receptions. For those five days, however, the dining room will close to the public for Tabrizi and his team to serve up meals three times a day to folks in need.
“These people don’t only suffer from hunger, but also from hopelessness, they feel that they don’t have any dignity anymore,” Tabrizi told Baltimore Magazine. “We want them to come in and feel like they’re cared for.”
Last year, comedian DJ Sennett made a similar effort to bring the luxury of a restaurant experience to people in need. In Los Angeles, he turned his usual comedy into charity by dressing up as a waiter and went around town feeding the homeless.
Thousands of miles away in South Korea, a priest operates an eatery that exclusively serves the poor. Youngnam Suh’s Dandelion Noodle restaurant, near the city of Incheon, doesn’t charge customers a cent, HuffPost Korea reported, and intends only to provide people in need with a good meal.
Tabrizi is calling for volunteers to help with his special restaurant week, and hascreated a form with time slots and tasks needed.
“The main goal is just to show people that actions do matter,” he told Baltimore Magazine. “Baltimore has a long way to recover and we can’t just rely on other people to lead. It’s our city.”
Tabrizi's to host a Homeless Restaurant Week Baltimore Sun-
Last week, Michael Tabrizi, the owner of Tabrizi's, a catering venue and restaurant in the Harborview residences, asked for volunteers to help him organize a "Homeless Restaurant Week."Tabrizi hopes to serve anywhere from 900 to 1,000 homeless guests at his restaurant during the week of July 20. And now, Tabrizi says, he has more volunteers than he needs, and his staff is "refusing to get paid" for that week."I don't want to turn volunteers away," Tabrizi said. Instead of helping to prepare or serve meals, volunteers will be invited to sit down with homeless guests over a dinner of chicken Cordon Bleu in sage cream sauce, spring salad, sparking apple cider and ice-cream waffle cone.Tabrizi said his homeless restaurant week came after a brief encounter with a homeless person, to whom he gave his a few dollars and his business card, with an invitation to come see him at his restaurant"I drove on, thinking to myself, 'What about all of the others?' That's when I decided to feed a thousand people," Tabrizi said.Tabrizi said he is working with Dee O'Horan of the Baltimore City Concierge Association, a professional organization of hospitality industry workers, to help bring 150 guests each day for six days to Tabrizi's.Take a look at some of the notable restaurant openings of 2015. (Richard Gorelick)O'Horan said that she is working primarily through such organizations as Maryland Center for Veterans Education & Training, the House of Ruth and other organizations that provide shelter and aid to the homeless and others in need.Tabrizi's gesture has been picked up the national media, including Huffington Post and People magazine, who have reported that Tabrizi had decided to forgo his participation in Baltimore's annual restaurant week in order to have his homeless restaurant week during the same period.However, Tabrizi's is not a currently a member of Visit Baltimore, the organization that coordinates the annual dining promotion, according to Christina Perry, a Visit Baltimore spokeswoman."The reaction has been great," Tabrizi said. "It's not for the publicity. It's all about goodness. Imagine, if people can do random acts of good and make the city better again, the way it was before the riots."
Baltimore Restaurant Owner Ditches Restaurant Week to Feed Homeless:
'These People Are Really Forgotten'
People Magazine-Instead of offering a prix-fixe menu to local foodies, one Baltimore restaurant owner has decided to feed the homeless during Restaurant Week. Michael Tabrizi, owner of Tabrizi’s restaurant, opted out of Baltimore’s Restaurant Week, which will take place from July 20 to 25, to instead partner with local homeless shelters and feed those in need. An encounter with a homeless person while stopped at a red light one night inspired Tabrizi to take action. "I saw a guy at a traffic light with the sign, 'I'm hungry, I will work for food,' " Tabrizi tells PEOPLE. "I couldn’t just pass him. I gave him my business card and told him to come to my restaurant when it’s open for a free meal. I kept driving and asked myself, 'What about the others?' " Tabrizi’s eatery serves Mediterranean cuisine "from the Middle East all the way to Spain – lamb, sardines, falafel, you name it," he says. However, the Israeli native is taking a different approach to his menu for Restaurant Week. Tabrizi says he will serve Cordon Bleu with sage cream and salad on fine china, sparking apple cider in a champagne flute and ice cream in a waffle cup for dessert. "I think these people are really forgotten," he says. "Nobody looks them in the eye anymore. These people lost everything, but that doesn’t make them less human than others. I like to help them by feeding them. I don’t think they are hungry for nourishment, but more mental nourishment. They just need somebody to talk to them." Tabrizi is not sure if other restaurants will join him in helping to feed the homeless, but he says he's gotten positive feedback during the past few weeks. "I'm excited just to see the faces of these people," he adds. "My staff is overwhelmed by the experience. They were offered to get paid [and] most of them declined. I have received hundreds of emails from all around the world – Africa, Europe, Russia, Iran, Middle East and South America. Everybody is wishing good things."
As Baltimore restaurants prepare for busy restaurant weeks, next Monday one local owner is planning a week of his own: Homeless Restaurant Week.
Michael Tabrizi, owner of Tabrizi's in Harbor View, came up with the idea.
Tabrizi's will be closed to the public from Monday, July 20 through Friday, July 25. Instead of the usual set menu, the restaurant will instead host three dinners a day, serving 1,000 of the city's homeless population.
"We're going to take the kitchen outside if the weather is nice," Michael Tabrizi says. "We are excited to have them. We are calling them guests. Every time I refer to them, I always tell my staff, 'Our guests will be arriving at this time.'"
They'll be serving three different groups of homeless each afternoon and evening.
"It's going to be the chicken cordon bleu. We're going to serve at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day," he says. The chicken cordon bleu will be paired with salad and ice cream for dessert.
"Our servers will serve water and sparkling apple cider in champagne flutes. It's going to be the regular china we use in our fine dining in here, regular silverware and napkins."
Tabrizi's will be feeding the body, but also the soul. The restaurant could have donated meals to a shelter, but next week is just as much about the experience as it is the food.
"I want the homeless to feel how it is like to sit in a restaurant having a clean cloth napkin on your lips and having a champagne flute and somebody serving you in a beautiful restaurant," Michael says. "The goal is to make them feel better, to make them feel there's hope and there's goodness in the world."
The restaurant's staff is volunteering their time. Tabrizi's put the word out for other volunteers. They needed 150 and over 800 people responded.
With so much support, Michael says this will not be a one-time thing. He also reached out to the White House and invited the president