After the massive hit that the food service industry took during the city-wide curfew in April and May, many restaurant owners are looking forward to raking in dining dollars during Baltimore Restaurant Week in July.
Tabrizi’s owner Michael Tabrizi, however, has a different plan.
In lieu of planning a prix-fixe menu and taking reservations, Tabrizi has partnered with local shelters to devote July 20-25 to feeding the city’s homeless.
“I decided that, after all of the chaos earlier this year, it would be better to do something for the city to unite the people,” he says. “It isn’t about revenue and money right now, we’ve done restaurant week before and we know the numbers, but right now it’s more important to promote the welfare of the city and its residents rather than to promote the business.”
The restaurant, which is normally open for dinner and generates a large portion of its revenue by hosting and catering weddings, will be closed to the public during the five-day period so that Tabrizi and his team can focus on serving elegant meals to those who are displaced.
“These people don’t only suffer from hunger, but also from hopelessness, they feel that they don’t have any dignity anymore,” Tabrizi says. “We want them to come in and feel like they’re cared for.”
Although the menu still hasn’t been finalized, Tabrizi shares that the meals, which will be served at 1, 3, and 5 p.m. each day, will most likely consist of chicken or beef with vegetables, sparkling cider served in champagne flutes, and ice cream for dessert.
Since he began spearheading the project earlier this month, Tabrizi has hit the ground running by teaming up with the Baltimore Area Concierge Association, organizing bus transportation to and from the restaurant, and rallying volunteers to assist with tasks like serving and cleaning up.
He says that, although it isn’t his goal, if the initiative happens to inspire other restaurants to get involved, it would be an added bonus.
“The main goal is just to show people that actions do matter. Baltimore has a long way to recover and we can’t just rely on other people to lead. It’s our city,” Tabrizi says. “My dad used to always say, ‘You can’t control what people do and say, but you can control how you act.’ My reaction is bringing people together and showing them that I care.”