Phil and Derek’s Restaurant gives free meals to hundreds of Houston families

A Houston restaurant owner is trying to make life a little easier for some who are having a tough time now, all while his business isn’t exactly booming.

We share his story in this Positively Houston.

Crowds of customers haven’t rushed through the door at Phil & Derek’s restaurant since this whole COVID-19 crisis left many Houston companies in a crisis of their own but that isn’t where this story stops. Phil & Derek’s is now giving away free meals to hundreds of Houston families.

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Their dining room now sits empty and the kitchen at Phil & Derek’s isn’t nearly as bustling as it was but the chefs who are working will be making meals for Houstonians who have fallen on hard times, in these strange times.

“They may not have gotten stimulus. They may be out of work, struggling to figure out how they’re going to feed their families,” says John Cruise one of the owners at Phil & Derek’s restaurant.  

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Cruise came up with the idea after a customer who popped in for take out mentioned he was supporting the 10-year-old restaurant to help keep it afloat through this COVID19 crisis.

“He said things are so hard for my wife and I right now. If this continues another three or four weeks we may be out on the streets. I don’t know what we’re going to do”.  

So the idea was born to give away as many free meals as possible.
Cruise can’t do it alone so he asked if any Phil & Derek's customers want to help.


“It just disturbs you. So you can’t just sit down and don’t do anything,” explains longtime customer Oscar McGarr. When McGarr heard what Phil & Derek’s was doing, he and his sister donated enough money to feed 50 people because they can’t stand hearing stories of families who have lost so much in this Pandemic.

“Not only sad to hear but to see it. That’s what really gets to your heart” says McGarr.

Here’s how it works. Any police officer, firefighter or medical professional wanting or any family needing a meal can sign up on the Phil & Derek's website and choose the meal they want. Each will receive a gourmet dinner to feed a family of four.  

This is all while Phil & Derek’s has laid off 55 employees, revenue is down 85% and only a staff of 8 remains.

“Let’s do what we can to support and love one another as we get through this,” adds Cruise who says he looks forward to being able to bring back his staff.

150 Houstonians are signed up to receive free meals tomorrow.