John Howie: He has a steak in his community.

John Howie is known for his big heart. And not just for keeping us in tempura-fried Kurobuta bacon. Thanks for that John. Really, thank you.

From his Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bars (in Bellevue and Seattle), his Sport Restaurant and Bar at the base of the Space Needle, and John Howie Steak in Bellevue, Howie has staged numerous philanthropic events over the years—including the biggie, happening this week for the tenth consecutive year: Thanksgiving dinner for the needy at the Bellevue Seastar.

Seastar crew and families will serve, cook, and wash dishes for the 500-plus Eastsiders referred through Eastside agencies LifeSpring, Hopelink, Olive Crest, Redmond YWCA, and the Sophia Way.

Then Saturday, November 24, Howie will head across the bridge to his Westlake Seastar for his Second Annual Stone Soup benefit. For $10 the public is invited to sample Howie’s coconut curry rock crab and blue mussel chowder, served by Seattle celebs, with all proceeds going to Food Lifeline’s “Kick Hunger” challenge.

Howie’s not alone in his altruism. Restaurant empire-builders Tom Douglas (Dahlia Lounge et. al) and Ethan Stowell (Staple and Fancy, et al.) are renowned for it—just ask Food Lifeline and the Fetal Hope Foundation, respectively, among many others. Salty’s on Alki has a winemaker’s dinner upcoming to benefit the White Center Food Bank. Wild Ginger has donated its pan-Asian cuisine to benefit Camp Korey, which serves children with serious illnesses. Heavy Restaurant Group, which owns the Purple Cafes, Barrio, and Lot No. 3, embarked this fall on a campaign to raise thousands for Team for Kids, which promotes fitness for low-income children.

Just last week Seattle Met celebrated the great good work of a dozen Seattle-area nonprofits with its first annual Light a Fire Awards, held in partnership with Canlis, another business well known for giving back. (Of course such marketing partnerships are forged strictly apart from any critical appraisal I deliver as restaurant critic.)

This list is but the tip of a large iceberg of Seattle restaurants with large charitable hearts—restaurants, it should be noted, that often are the big corporate chains with the big corporate bucks. Not a bad thing to keep in mind next time you’re choosing a restaurant.

Who have I left out?   



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