Local Restaurants Donate Sales to Local Charities

Local restaurants dish out and donate part of their sales to local charities and use their culinary chops to give back to the community.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

On Friday morning the aroma of cheddar cheese eggs and sausage hash fills the air at the Veterans Coming Home Center. Approximately 100 homeless veterans file in for breakfast provided by Pat Duran, owner of Great American Taco Company, Metropolitan Grill and Vespa Kitchen.

As an Army veteran, Duran uses his restaurants to serve those who serve. He was a paratrooper and used the GI Bill to go to culinary school. “My service in the military got me where I am today in very many ways,” he says. Duran also offers a Heroes Discount of 50 percent off at the Great American Taco Company to law enforcement members, firefighters, active duty military and first responders. “[The discount is] dedicated to those who protect us and look out for us,” Duran says. “It’s for those people who put themselves in harm’s way to make us okay.”

Duran also hosts a free prime rib and walleye fish dinner on the last Wednesday of the month at Metro Grill for some members of Metro Mafia and local law enforcement and their families.


Boys and Girls and Burgers

Most fine dining restaurant guests enjoy wine and lobster, but some local visitors are gobbling up chicken tenders and juice. For three years, Mike Jalili, co-owner of Touch Restaurant & Oyster House, Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes and Flame Steakhouse, invites children from Boys & Girls Club of Springfield to a red-carpet dinner with one stipulation—they must improve their grades and complete 10 community service hours. “I think every kid should have the same opportunity,” Jalili says. “If I can make a change in one or two kids’ lives, then I think we have done a lot.”

Jalili treats some 250 kids to chicken tenders or steak, mashed potato, salad, veggies and Andy’s Frozen Custard, all of which the kids can take to their families. The cost is $25 to $30 per person.

The giving back doesn’t end there. Black Sheep Burgers & Shakes also picks up local law enforcement officers’ tabs. “Two years ago, everyone was down on the police,” Jalili says. “I wanted to take care of law enforcement because so many people were hard on them.”


A Rare Treat for Rare Breed

As someone who grew up less fortunate than he is now, Jimm Swafford of Jimm’s Steakhouse and Pub uses his business to give back. “Growing up there were five of us, and I didn’t have a lot,” Swafford says. “My parents did what they could, but now that I have the benefit of sharing, that’s what I would like to do.”

Swafford gives back to The Kitchen Inc.’s Rare Breed, a Springfield-based nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless, runaway or at-risk youth. In December 2012, he provided free dinners to a dozen kids, and numbers have grown. This past year, 40 kids were treated to meals that would usually cost $40–50. To support Rare Breed year-round, the steakhouse will donate a percentage of its dessert sales in 2017. Swafford also caters a free prime rib dinner every November with The Kitchen Inc., Rare Breed and Harmony House.

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