Restaurant News

Killen's, Nola's Commander's Palace and More Restaurants Lead Huge Harvey Donation Efforts

Getting down to business at Brennan's of Houston
Getting down to business at Brennan's of Houston Photo by Troy Fields
The Louisiana Restaurant Association and Ti Martin, co-owner of Commander's Palace, have teamed up with the Greater New Orleans Foundation have started a Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund, which will donate individual grants to area restaurant and hotel workers in need.

“After Hurricane Katrina, the Houston community was there for New Orleans and we'll never forget it," Martin said in a press statement. Martin's brother Alex Brennan-Martin, who runs Brennan’s of Houston, started the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief Fund which raised over $1 million dollars following Katrina.

“As someone who has been part of the Houston community for 30-years now, I know that we are resilient, and will rebound stronger than ever. We’ll put the money from the fund to good use, helping restaurant and hotel workers in need during this difficult time,” said Brennan-Martin.

Donations for the Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund can be made online at or by mailing a check to the Greater New Orleans Foundation, 919 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130. Donations should specify "Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund."

click to enlarge Ronnie Killen is cooking up hot meals and donating his own dollars to help flood victims. - PHOTO BY KIMBERLY PARK
Ronnie Killen is cooking up hot meals and donating his own dollars to help flood victims.
Photo by Kimberly Park

After contributing $50,000 to provide about 3,500 meals for hurricane evacuees, chef Ronnie Killen, owner of Killen's Barbecue, Killen's STQ and more of Houston's finest, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise more funds to continue his restaurants' efforts to feed those in need and those on the front lines of hurricane recovery efforts. The goal is to raise $200,000 to provide 30,000 meals total. Donate at

click to enlarge Chef John Besh is in Houston, cooking for evacuees and first responders. - PHOTO BY RUSH JAGOE
Chef John Besh is in Houston, cooking for evacuees and first responders.
Photo by Rush Jagoe
New Orleans-based celebrity chef John Besh and his John Besh Foundation have been in Houston since Wednesday to help feed those in need. On Thursday, chef Besh and his team fed more than 1,200 evacuees in Orange before having to evacuate themselves because of rising waters.

Chef Besh is currently coordinating with Mayor Turner's team to cook lunch tomorrow with chef Drake Leonards (of the forthcoming Besh eatery Eunice here in Houston) and Julep's Alba Huerta for first responders at the NRG Stadium. Donations can be made via The John Besh Foundation by selecting "Hurricane Harvey Relief," to make sure those funds go to help support hunger relief efforts around Hurricane Harvey. For additional donation or volunteer inquiries, please contact Caroline Rosen, executive director, Besh Foundation, at [email protected]

Whataburger has pledged $1 million to its Whataburger Family Foundation to help take care of its employees that have been affected by Harvey, along with $150,000 to the Red Cross and $500,000 to local food banks.

D.C.-based celebrity chef Jose Andres has been in Houston all week cooking for shelters in partnership with the Red Cross, and his disaster relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen is accepting monetary donations to provide meals for victims of the floods.

Check out our previous coverage for more on how Houston restaurants have been contributing to Harvey relief, or head to the Houston Service Industry For Harvey Relief page on Facebook to see just how incredibly hard our local hospitality community is working right now to help flood victims and first responders get hot meals.
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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.