When it comes to giving back, New York City restaurants are at the top of the food chain.
One of the major players helping combat hunger in the Big Apple is City Harvest, which rescues excess food from cafés and restaurants, dispersing it to soup kitchens and food pantries throughout the city. Fine dining establishments like Aquavit and Le Bernardin offer City Harvest lunch menus, with a portion of sales going to the charity. Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group (which includes two of the city’s most coveted restaurants, Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern) has worked with City Harvest almost since its inception in 1982.
“The restaurant community’s commitment to supporting our work is a prime example of how New Yorkers come together to help one another,” says Lisa Sposato, City Harvest director of food resourcing. As a result, many other top-tier restaurants have since joined with City Harvest, including the popular Cuban restaurant Victor’s Café; The Beatrice Inn, a celebrity hangout; the elegant and family-friendly Landmarc; and ultra-trendy Beauty & Essex.
Restaurant group In Good Company Hospitality has some 10 establishments that also beat the charity drum. Its Parker & Quinn, an American resto with a vintage ambience in the Refinery Hotel, offering breakfast, lunch and an all-day menu of elevated American and Mediterranean fare, has raised over $30,000 in the past five years with its “Pay It Forward Friday,” when a table’s bill is taken care of, and the cost of the meal is donated to a charity of the guests’ choosing from a provided list. At the hotel’s Refinery Rooftop, a percentage of Give a Sip frozen cocktails are donated to charity. This past fall, proceeds from sales of its frosé went to fight trafficking and youth homelessness in the city.
P.S. Kitchen, a plant-based eatery, donates 100 percent of its profits to both local and wide-world charities throughout the year. “We’ve created an engine to continuously donate to charities,” says P.S. Kitchen’s general manager and co-owner Jeff LaPadula. The restaurant also hires those who were formerly incarcerated, homeless or previously homeless, as well as victims of sexual abuse. “It pushes you over the edge to give your all,” LaPadula says.
And Coffeed, a full-service café with several locations around the city and its own single-origin coffee beans, donates up to 10 percent of its gross revenue to charities around the world. “To directly impact society has been incredibly uplifting.” says COFFEED founder Frank “Turtle” Raffaele. We think so, too.