For Estadio owner Max Kuller, it didn’t feel right for his 14th Street Spanish restaurant to jump right back into normal operations (whatever that even means now) after days of nationwide protests, clashes, and angst.
“This has been just a period in general the last few months of a lot of reflection on what we do and why we do it,” he says. “Definitely one of the things that became glaring to us with the confrontations with police and everything is this really didn’t seem like the time to do what we normally do.”
So Estadio will open its takeout windows in both DC and Charleston, SC to anyone who needs a warm meal. Kuller says that includes peaceful protesters of course, but also locals “overwhelmed by the militarization around their homes,” fellow business owners who’ve been cleaning up damaged storefronts, and cops trying to protect the community.
While meals are free, the “community kitchen” is asking those who can afford it to pay and donate (here) toward those who need it. The restaurant will retain $1,000 of the donations each day to help offset (but not completely cover) its own expenses. Any money leftover will go toward organizations such as Campaign Zero, Innocence Project, and Black Lives Matter DC.
One dish will be offered each day, today through Sunday from 2 to 7 PM (and probably a little earlier over the weekend). Look out for paella or burgers plus vegetarian options this weekend from chef Rob Rubba of forthcoming Oyster Oyster. The full beverage menu (wines, beers, sangria) will also be available for purchase.
“We’d love to have a socially distanced line with both peace-loving policemen and protesters in it having conversations and leading toward the healing process,” Kuller says. “Restaurants are a big part of that process. It’s community and getting through hard times.”