A Helping Hand to Haiti

Area Bars and Restaurants Find a Tasty Way to Offer Sustenance

Posted January 19, 2010 at 4:24pm

The devastating earthquake that affected Haiti last week hit especially close to home for one group of restaurants. The Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which is responsible for local eateries such as Rustico (827 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, Va.), Birch & Barley and ChurchKey (1337 14th St. NW), had recently bid farewell to Rustico server Frank Thorp, who moved to Haiti with his wife, Jillian.

When Frank first heard of the disaster, he was traveling through the mountains and unaware of

the severity of the situation. But he soon learned that Jillian was trapped in a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince. Frank immediately raced to the city, where he dug Jillian out of the wreckage after she had been trapped for nearly 10 hours. Both husband and wife are now safe.

Inspired by the Thorps’ struggle, the Neighborhood Restaurant Group will be doing several different fundraisers to benefit those who are suffering in Haiti. Each restaurant in the company will be collecting donations for the Haitian Emergency Rebuilding Operation, which was created by the Thorps, as well as for the American Red Cross.

The restaurants will feature menu items marked by a red cross, an indication that purchase of the item will benefit the two charities. Items include wine at Tallula (2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington, Va.) and a five-course tasting menu at Birch & Barley. Buzz Bakery (901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria) will be serving cupcakes decorated with a red cross to benefit the charity.

In addition to these efforts, the NRG will host a fundraiser with the Thorps today at Columbia Firehouse (109 S. Saint Asaph St.) in Alexandria. Tickets will cost $40 and include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

The NRG isn’t the only restaurant conglomerate in town to lend a hand to those in need. Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj, who is responsible for the Oval Room (800 Connecticut Ave. NW), Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca (1100 New York Ave. NW), Rasika (633 D St. NW), 701 (701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) and Ardeo (3311 Connecticut Ave. NW), among other eateries, recently announced a fundraiser running from now until Feb. 19. Not only has Bajaj offered to match his employees’ donations to the efforts in Haiti, but he will also be donating some of his restaurants’ proceeds.

Several popular dishes at each restaurant will be featured over the next month, and $1 from the sale of each dish will be donated to the American Red Cross’ efforts in Haiti. In an effort to raise the most money possible, Bajaj and his team have selected some of the restaurants’ most frequently ordered dishes to feature. For example, 701 will feature the king crab salad, while Ardeo will offer cider-braised beef short ribs.

Over in Georgetown, Sweetgreen and Georgetown Cupcake are teaming up with Jefferson Prep, a tutoring service, to host a fundraiser on Friday that will benefit Doctors Without Borders in Haiti. The event will be held at 3265 M St. NW, and the group is asking for a $10 minimum donation at the door. There will be gifts for those who reach deep into their pockets and make large donations. For instance, those who donate $100 will receive a $200 gift certificate to Policy restaurant (1904 14th St. NW). All of the proceeds from this event go to the charity.

Local bar and restaurant group Latin Concepts will be donating 10 percent of all food and beverage sales this week to Doctors Without Borders. Participating restaurants include Maté Lounge (3101 K St. NW), Chi-Cha Lounge (1624 U St. NW) and Gin and Tonic (2408 Wisconsin Ave. NW). The promotion will run through Friday.