BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Santa Rosa, CA
No one saw the Santa Rosa fires coming in October of 2017. General Manager of the American brewhouse and restaurant BJ’s was a victim of the fires himself. Read on to hear how the restaurant helped him and everyone in their community.
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Santa Rosa is located across the street from Coffey Park, the Sonoma County neighborhood that took the brunt of the North Bay fire damage in October. The restaurant was lucky — they lost power and gas for a few days, but were spared from fire damage. Not all the employees were so fortunate.
BJ’s General Manager, Pedro Bautista, was woken up by the smell of smoke. He had ten minutes to evacuate. His house and all his possessions were incinerated. Nevertheless, he and the rest of the BJ’s crew insisted on re-opening the restaurant as soon as they could. The power outage spoiled their entire inventory, but they replenished as best they could. They wanted to offer the community a place to gather. The restaurant became a home away from home, and in some cases, people’s only home. Firefighters were honored and BJ’s bought meals for anyone in need. The team members switched the TV from news to sports and for the first time in days, locals had a place where they could relax.
“During this difficult time, we were honored to be able to open our doors to help the local community. This was a team effort led by Pedro, whose commitment to putting others first is unsurpassed,” said Director of Operations, Kristopher Kent.
Jessie Rae’s BBQ in Las Vegas, NV
This is the story of how restaurant owners Jessica and Mike opened their doors in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings this year to feed and nurture their community. Read on for the full story.
Jessica and Mike Ross, husband and wife, and owners of Jessie Rae’s BBQ, jumped into action as gunfire broke out across the street from their restaurant in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. As concert-goers started to run for cover, Mike opened Jessie Rae’s doors to anyone seeking shelter. People were wandering the streets distraught, and Mike wanted to offer them a place of safety.
In the days following the tragedy, they went into what Mike called “ultra-feeding mode”. They fed anyone who needed a meal and didn’t say no to anyone. From victims’ families to first responders, mortuaries, and anyone else helping the city; Mike and Jessica made sure everyone was fed. Mike said the city came together to help each other grieve. Both he and his wife Jessica were born in Las Vegas so this tragedy hit very close to their hearts. They not only made food, they also hosted food drives at the restaurant. They did anything they could to give back to the city they call home.
Peli Peli in Houston, TX
When Hurricane Harvey displaced tens of thousands of families, Adrienne Macias, of Peli Peli restaurant was included. Read the story of how Peli Peli came together to help their coworker and her family get back on their feet.
When Peli Peli owner Thomas Nguyen heard about the hurricane approaching the Gulf Coast, he didn’t think much of it. But he decided to give his staff the day off anyway to prepare for a day rained in. “Even that Saturday, it wasn’t raining,” he says. “I was second-guessing our decision to close the restaurant.” Adrienne Macias, a sales representative at Peli Peli, didn’t think the storm would be a big deal either.
Macias figured she and her kids would stay at home over the weekend and be fine. But by Sunday, she realized the devastation in her neighborhood. “I was trying to keep calm for the kids, but the east side [nearby] was entirely submerged by then,” she says. Around 3:30am she woke up and kids and helped them put on life vests because the water had hit 15 meters deep in front of her house. Neighbors on higher ground opened their home, and Macias, Noah and Brianna were able to stay with them. Macias returned to her home to see everything lost.
The family of Peli Peli Restaurant took care of her in her time of need. Coworkers, including Peli Peli’s CEO and COO, came by to their hotel room with a hot plate, shampoo, food, a crock pot, a pony toothbrush for Brianna and a Star Wars one for Noah.
On Friday, Macias stopped by the Peli Peli kitchen, where employees and volunteers, including Nguyen, were working to prepare 20,000 meals for the Red Cross. “I was in tears because so many people there wanted to help, to put in the long hours to make sure we got the meals taken care of. I got all that support, and hugs from people who know the struggle of being a single mom,” says Macias. “I may not have my family in Houston, but I have my work family.”
Yogurt Stop in Los Angeles, CA
During one of the top TV viewing occasions, the now infamous “Oscars Mistake” of 2017 took place, where the incorrect movie was announced (La La Land) when Moonlight actually won Best Picture. See how Yogurt Shop in LA made light of the situation, ultimately honoring the winning film.
Yogurt Stop built itself on the simple concept of offering superior frozen yogurt, delicious toppings, and locally sourced fresh fruit and other frozen delights in a fun-filled chilled-out environment.
The shop, run by partners Shoshana Joseph and Marta Knittel, loves to play on trends when they name their frozen yogurt. So, when the Oscars snafu happened and the winner for best picture was incorrectly awarded to La La Land, Yogurt Shop had a field day the next day. “La La Land Lemons, er, I mean, Moonlight Milk Chocolate” quickly became flavors to hit their shop.