The Chef’s Market Drive-Thru, San Jose’s newest dining initiative to feed the needy, isn’t just a win-win situation.
It’s a “win-win-win-win” in the words of a booster downtown.
From today December 30th through January 12th, five restaurants in downtown San Jose will be collaborating to prepare take-away meals for customers – plus a bonus for the community. For every meal ordered, the chefs make a second meal that is donated to the families served by the San Jose SHIP Kits and Hunger at Home.
According to Eric Glader, the new Community Engagement Director for the San Jose Downtown Association, the benefits of this project – the first idea of Rodney Baca’s new nonprofit – are even greater.
“You get a meal, the less fortunate get a meal, restaurants and chefs get a much-needed business, and the city of San Jose can benefit from activities in the heart of downtown. It’s a win-win-win-win situation, ”said Glader, who is also the co-founder of the SHIP Kits group, which was created for this era of on-site protection.
Baca, who runs Chef Baca’s The Shop at San Pedro Square Market and the nonprofit Baca Systems, came up with the idea of helping both those who lost their jobs due to this troubled coronavirus economy and the restaurants downtown in which there is still business but struggling to survive.
“Our restaurant community has been through so much of coronavirus, home orders, fires and poor air quality, but we have been resilient,” said Baca, noting that many downtown restaurants are open every day despite losing money on the suggestion. “Why? Because people can enjoy our food, because we can keep people busy, and because we love our community.”
Four other restaurateurs support him: Juan Sosaya from Jora Peruvian, Robee Sada from Robees Falafel, Carlos Perez from Loteria Taco Bar and Josh Hyland with his brand new restaurant Hyland House of Sushi.
This is how the Chef’s Market works: Go to the website https://chefsmarket1.square.site and order from the online menu. Each $ 25 offer from the five restaurants is a full meal of a starter, salad or soup, dessert, and bottled water. The same meal is prepared twice, once for the customer and once for the donation. (Or customers can donate both meals.)
Then swing past 300 S. Second St. (on San Carlos Street) parking lot for a socially distant roadside pickup. During the two-week run, the opening times are daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. – including New Year’s
The menu offers:
– Jora Peruaner: Lomo Saltado (beef fillet) or Chaufa de Pollo with side dishes, quinoa salad and alfajores biscuit.
– Hyland House of Sushi: tuna and crab sack shells with miso soup and teriyaki bento boxes with edamame salad and Castella cake.
– Robee’s Falafel: Chicken kebab or lamb and beef gyro platters with salad, side dishes and homemade baklava.
– Loteria Taco Bar: Quesabirria Tacos, Enchiladas or Carne Asada Burritos with side dishes, salad and Mexican vanilla apple tart.
– The Shop by Chef Baca: smoked brisket, homemade pastrami or East Side burger with side dishes, salad and crème brûlée.
Three of the restaurants – Robee’s, Loteria, and Chef Baca – also sell family dinners for four.
Baca hopes this initiative will inspire the pre-Covid client base, from the law firm to big tech companies, banks and other big employers, to support the downtown restaurants that have pre-lunch lunches, happy hour gatherings and Business lunch took place in March shutdown.
“What if individuals see the devastation of our small businesses and decide to make a decision to help them instead of reading the paper about closings?” he said.