Drive-through restaurant pop-up in San Jose donates a meal for every meal ordered

Chef's Market mobile kitchen / Photo: City of San Jose, Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services 
By Laila Weir - Published on January 09, 2021.

San Jose-area residents can get takeout from five local restaurants and support laid-off workers at the same time, thanks to a pop-up drive-through market taking place through Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Called Chef’s Market, the pop-up is donating one meal for every meal purchased, at no cost to the customer. The meals go to furloughed or unemployed hospitality workers via local nonprofits.

What’s more, Chef’s Market offers the chance to pick up five different types of food, from brisket to gyros to sushi, in one central and COVID-safe drive-through location — an option likely to be appreciated by families tired of squabbling over what to order for dinner tonight.

Patrons can place orders through the Chef’s Market website for meals from The Shop by Chef Baca, Hyland House of Sushi, Jora Peruvian, Loteria Taco Bar and Robee's Falafel. They then pick up their food from the popup's mobile kitchen on South First Street, where it's hosted in a parking lot provided by San Jose organization Urban Community.

Single meals are $25 and include a wide variety of options, such as a pastrami sandwich meal, tacos, falafel, and Peruvian chicken fried rice, among many other choices. Households that can agree on a single cuisine can also order a family meal for four people, $100. (Supporters can also simply donate a meal by contacting Chef’s Market staff.)

Chef Rodney Baca and his wife Madelyn, co-owners of The Shop by Chef Baca, launched the pop-up through their nonprofit organization, hoping to help fellow restaurateurs survive the pandemic.

"We're facing extinction, and if we don't come up with any kind of creative decisions to help us, the restaurant industry as you know it will be gone," Baca told KGO.

Although Chef’s Market is ending Tuesday, Baca hopes to continue the efforts with a delivery service and additional popups in the future, according to the City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services’ news site.

“We thank our #SiliconValleyStrongHeroes for creating this collaboration to help local businesses while supporting members of our community affected by food insecurities,” states the site.

Chef’s Market donates the meals to San Jose Ship Kits and Hunger at Home, organizations that are helping laid-off workers in the hospitality industry, which has been hit hard during the pandemic and attendant shut-downs.

“It’s a great innovative project with a very passionate group of individuals supporting local businesses and those facing food insecurity,” Hunger at Home CEO Ewell Sterner commented to San Jose Spotlight.

The Chef’s Market drive-through is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Jan. 12 in the parking lot at 300 South First Street. Visit chefmarket1.square.site to order.

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