Locked-down restaurants find new ways to feed customers, workers

Steaks are on the menu at Rare Society restaurant
Steaks are on the menu at Rare Society, which will be offering an industry night meal giveaway program for laid-off restaurant workers.
(Courtesy of Haley Hill Photography )

In an effort to keep some of his cooks employed and feed some of the laid-off restaurant workers he could not, Trust Restaurant Group owner Brad Wise launched a weekly sponsored meal program on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Conceived by TRG wine director Ben Zuba, the new Industry Steak Night program at Rare Society Steakhouse will provide up to two free, take-home three-course steak dinners to restaurant workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Wise has kicked off the program with a $5,000 donation.

Members of the public can donate $35 to the program, which will provide one dinner to a laid-off worker that includes Caesar salad, Parker house rolls, steak, green beans, whipped potatoes and dessert, along with a note of encouragement from the donor.

Meals will be available for pickup by reservation only on Wednesday nights at Rare Society, 4130 Park Blvd., San Diego. They will be distributed every Wednesday night, as long as there are pre-purchased meals in the Industry Night “bank.” This week’s dinners are sold out, but donations and reservations are being taken for next week and beyond.

Wise said reaction to the meal program has been very positive, and he has received several offers of volunteer help from cooks at shuttered restaurants owned by CH Projects. With the public’s support, he hopes to work up to preparing as many as 500 meals a week. To donate dinners for the cause, visit

Pacifica Del Mar launches team dinners

To supplement its curbside pickup meal service, Pacifica Del Mar restaurant has launched a Team Dinners program, where companies forgoing a staff Christmas party this year can instead order take-home meals for their employees.

Companies can purchase vouchers for family-style three-course meals for four that employees can redeem for reserved curbside pickup at the Del Mar Plaza restaurant. Prices range from $55 for a penne pasta or roasted free-range chicken breast family meal to $65 for a braised beef short rib family meal, $85 for sugar-spiced salmon meal or $95 for grilled filet mignon meal. To order, visit

Pam Kragen writes about local restaurants for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at