Fifty /50 Group fights for "family" and others...with food

Date: 
04/01/2020
GregScott

Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner

Local restaurateurs Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner fight for their "family" and others in Chicago's food service industry and beyond by feeding as many as possible. And, they could use your help.

Their "family" included more than 600 people in 19 restaurants that spread from the South and North Loop into River North, East Village, Wicker Park and over and up to Old Town and Lincoln Square. 

GMohr

Greg Mohr

"The day we had to fire around 600 workers was, no doubt, the roughest day of my life," says Mohr. 

"Those who work in our industry, for the most part, live from paycheck to paycheck." 

So, when their business hit the brick wall known as the COVID-19 shutdown, not working was not an option for the Fifty/50 Group. 

The giving plan
Tuesday, the Restaurant Workers Relief Center opened in Fifty/50's West Town Bakery and Diner, 1916 W. Chicago Ave., in East Village. It will be open from 4 to 6:30 each day providing a meal and groceries to people in the food service industry. 

Tuesday's first meal was Chicken Stir-fry and a house salad and the first grocery bag included two bags of pasta, a jar of marinara, parmigiana cheese and Dark Matter coffee. Each day's menu and bag of groceries will depend on what is donated.

A a week ago, Fifty/50 replaced One Off hospitality group in the Chicago-focused partnership of the industry worker relief program initiated by D.C. celebrity Chef Edward Lee’s Kentucky based foundation. One Off includes Wicker Park’s Big Star and the Violet Hour.  

At their Fifty/50 Sports Bar, 2047 W. Division St., they are serving a meal to anyone that needs one between 4 and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday thru Sunday. Last week they served 400 meals, this week 500 and 700 is the goal for next week. 

F50Food

Meal from the Fifty/50

"Partnering with a supplier like Sysco is a huge help," explained Mohr. "The more food and donations we can get, the more people we can feed and the more people we can hire back. 

Adding to these two sites, 1,200 National Guard personnel at McCormick Place will be served meals cooked by their high quality chefs through this week at least, said Mohr. 

What about the future?
But, how long can this hospitality group afford to continue like this? 

Currently, Mohr said that they are just about breaking even on these efforts and their pizza businesses in West Town, Old Town and Lincoln Square are doing well.

They have calculated that assuming they can maintain their support from the industry and others, they should be able to support those needing help for five more months at both of these locations.

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