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Boulder Restaurants Stay In Business By Feeding Health Care Workers

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - Health care workers in Boulder are being treated to some of the best food the city's premier restaurants have to offer. It's thanks to an effort underway to help those businesses stay afloat while providing meals for doctors, nurses and staff.

"The health care workers here are going to have so much on their minds and so much on their plates in the coming weeks and months. The last thing that we want them worrying about is where they're going to get their next meal, is it going to be a right balanced meal to give them the fuel they need against this fight," said Kyle Judah, the Director of Entrepreneurship at the CU Boulder School of Engineering and Applied Science.

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Restaurants are being paid full price for meals that go to feed health care workers at the hospital. The professor, with restaurant experience, saw the same principal was being implemented in San Francisco. He started talking with friends about how the concept could take hold in Boulder and immediately got positive feedback and money.

The first meals were delivered on Monday.

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"All different areas of the Boulder ecosystem are coming together to do what needs to be done to support the folks really leading the fight. We were incredibly lucky to have about $200,000 committed over the course of last weekend," Judah said.

Restaurants are taking turns providing 300 dinners to the hospital each day. The fund, being run by the Boulder Community Health Foundation, is hoping to reach $400,000 so restaurants can provide food for two months to the hospital.

"We were so excited to join the Boulder community and be part of the solution. Our restaurant teams are really struggling to figure out how to make it day by day. We're hoping to figure out how the stimulus can support the teams but, frankly, it's probably the hardest thing I've ever experienced in the restaurant industry," said Kimbal Musk, the owner and CEO of The Kitchen Restaurant Group. "We are absolutely grateful for the work to be able to serve our community, to help employ some of our staff."

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So far, restaurants on board include Big Red F Restaurant Group, Blackbelly/Santo, Community Kitchen Table, Japango, Next Door from The Kitchen Restaurant Group and Salt. More are being asked to help.

"It is amazing how fast we can work together when we just reach out and ask for help," said Musk.

On the organization's website it also includes a program outline so this can be implemented in other communities.

"Our hope is we can take the playbook that we've successfully done here at BCH and kind of open source it so anybody in any community in Colorado or across the country can get up and running," said Judah. "It's rare in life when you can have a win-win opportunity to support those that have been financially and economically impacted by coronavirus and at the same time give the folks who are leading the fight the fuel they need moving forward."

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