The doors at Một Hai Ba Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas' Victory Park neighborhood hadn't officially opened before the COVID-19 pandemic kept them closed.
"I was supposed to open this restaurant about 2 1/2 months ago," chef and owner Peja Krstic said. "March 16 is our first and last day of training."
The restaurant still isn't open to customers, but Wednesday morning staff was busy making meals for people in need.
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"Not only just to help people, but to help our community and help ourselves," Krstic said.
Một Hai Ba is one of 30 restaurants eight cities participating in The Power of 10, a pay-it-forward initiative started by Washington chef Erik Bruner-Yang to employ restaurant workers and feed those in need.
"Ten thousand dollars a week in donations can sustain or secure or create 10 full-time jobs and 1,000 free meals in any community in America," Bruner-Yang said via Zoom. "Small independent restaurants can be a stop-gap for the solution, especially if we can't have customers like we used to have in our restaurants. All we know how to do is serve people and make them happy, so why can't you realize those resources to make that happen."
Krstic said the last few months have put things in perspective.
"Here I am, my concern is, 'How do I open a restaurant?'" Krstic said. "And somebody's concern is like, 'Am I going to have a meal today?'"
Krstic's restaurant is helping feed children in need, as well as hospitality workers who have been furloughed from their jobs.
"People are very much grateful," Krstic said. "It's a soul food for everyone. That's what it is."
The Power of 10 is supported by a partnership with Capital One and private donations.