New Initiative Aims to Shine Spotlight on Struggling Restaurants in Cowtown – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The pandemic has hit the restaurant and bar industry hard.

But much-needed help comes this week when the canceled Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival takes center stage and goes to great lengths to support struggling restaurants, watering holes, and other businesses.

The new initiative is called “EAT. DRINK. COWTOWN”.

The goal, according to the organizers, is to turn the lemons of 2020 into lemonade.

“This is really a focus to get people back to restaurants. Many independent restaurant tours, breweries, and bars in general have obviously had problems over the past six months. So we decided to use the voice of the festival to spread their offerings and what people can do, what to expect when they go to these amazing restaurants that I’ve suffered from for so long, “said Russell Kirkpatrick , Festival Co-Founder and General Manager of Reata Restaurant in Fort Worth.

EAT. DRINK. COWTOWN. runs Monday, October 19th to Sunday, October 25th.

Approximately 40 restaurants are involved, some of which offer full, chef-prepared take-away meals, either take-away or roadside. Others make special dine-in menu items that are only available this week.

Kirkpatrick said there was something for everyone.

“Our staff have worked tirelessly to welcome our guests back into the tour doors. And we all want our guests to feel comfortable. So this is an opportunity wherever you feel comfortable – whether by the roadside or while eating” , he said.

Local musician Josh Weathers, local restaurant staff and musicians have teamed up for a video to promote the event.

A full list of participating companies can be found here.

Emily Knight, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, said these types of initiatives are incredibly important. Currently, TRA data shows that Texas has lost about 15 percent of its restaurants since the pandemic started in March.

Since no additional economic stimulus money is in sight so far, the TRA assumes that up to 30 percent of the restaurants in the state will close permanently by the end of the year.

“So these are the types of initiatives we’re starting to bring cities together because restaurants are so important. And we don’t see an end in sight. Unless we stand behind restaurants and order or eat, your favorite restaurant will be in not be here for the next 6 months, “said Knight.

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation is raising money from the festival for grants for the next generation of restaurateurs.

But this year the foundation switched gears to raise money for an employee benefit fund for those who have struggled to make ends meet throughout the pandemic. Click here for more information on how to apply for or donate to the fund.

They donated more than $ 100,000 to hourly workers such as waitresses, line cooks, and dishwashers to help pay the bills during this troubled time.

“We spent up to $ 500 per person on every type of home bills they had in the past few months,” said Kirkpatrick.

So far, the next Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is planned for April 2021. For new updates click here.

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