MIAMI – This week was supposed to be the grand opening of Red Rooster Overtown.
Instead, the new restaurant co-owned by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson partnered with World Central Kitchen and Food Rescue US-Miami to provide meals to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re welcoming Miami here and feeding as many people as we can during this difficult time,” co-owner Derek Fleming said.
Free meals were handed out Friday afternoon at Red Rooster (920 NW Second Ave), and that will continue Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon-4 p.m.
The restaurant scrambled to put together the giveaway for people in the area as well as dozens of staff members who had been expecting to start working this week.
"We were all set to go open the restaurant, been working on it for quite a while now, and unfortunately this virus has really hit not just this community but the world,” Fleming said. “We had over a hundred people that we hired, and many from this community, from communities that have had some economic struggles. They were getting ready to have great employment, and so now they’re out and they have no place to go to work and they also are food insecure at this point.”
Samuelsson tapped fellow celebrity chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen to help with the giveaways.
“We must fight food insecurity during this time of crisis,” Samuelsson said in a statement.
Red Rooster Overtown partner Michael Simkins has also made a financial donation to the relief effort, alongside other nonprofit organizations, through the Simkins Family Foundation.
“We are proud that Overtown can be a beacon of hope for Miami, supporting workers and members of our local community whom have been devastated by these overwhelming circumstances,” Simkins said in a statement.
Similar efforts began last week at the Miami eatery’s sister restaurant in New York, Red Rooster Harlem.
The Red Rooster giveaway was one of several across South Florida on Friday and throughout this week.