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New Times / Cuisine

The following article was posted on November 29th, 2012, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 18 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [] - Volume 27, Issue 18

In the spirit of giving

Help those in need enjoy a good meal during the holiday season


Isn’t it a good feeling when you participate in something that supports charitable events? And we certainly have plenty to choose from on the Central Coast every month. Nevertheless, it’s rewarding to know that a portion of the tickets sales, or money bid on and won for auction lots, can do so much to help a great cause. The annual event Eat Out Save Lives by the SLO County AIDS Support Network (ASN) is a charity I have supported for several years. But one thing I didn’t quite realize was just how much it benefits those who are in need. After speaking with restaurateur Charles Myers, founder and owner of the wildly popular Big Sky in SLO, I had a better appreciation of this excellent charity that takes place during the season of giving when every dollar they receive means so much.

Join Charles Myers at Big Sky for a great meal and a great cause.

Having been a part of Eat Out Save Lives since its inception more than a decade ago, Myers doesn’t just recommend that we eat at Big Sky. He recommends visiting the new restaurants in SLO County that are participating, too.

“This is a nice synergistic type of event,” Myers explained. “I’m glad they changed it to Fridays as it’s always so busy in our restaurant.”

Each participating restaurant provides a percentage of every check served to their customers for the entire day. And that’s whether you stop in for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or simply to enjoy a glass of wine and an appetizer; it’s a huge help for ASN: “This event helps people who are HIV positive, and those relying on Food Stamps to buy food. With this program, they don’t have to live in abject poverty.”

Eat Out Save Lives
Support those who are in need by dining out throughout the day on Friday, Nov. 30. Each of these participating restaurants will provide much-needed funds for the good people at the AIDS Support Network (ASN) of San Luis Obispo County. ASN uses community donations to provide fresh food and pantry ingredients for SLO County citizens living with HIV or AIDS. Eat Out Save Lives, their annual fundraiser honoring World Aids Day, will allow ASN to stock their pantry for 2013. Although the current economy has made it difficult for all restaurants to survive, these generous restaurateurs are still helping other people in need. Dine at these participating restaurants and they’ll donate a percentage of the day’s sales to ASN. It’s easy to help; all you have to do is spend your dining dollars on Nov. 30, and your donations will make a huge difference for those who are struggling to survive.
The participating restaurants are listed by their city of business:
• Atascadero: Fig Good Food, Nardonnes Pizzeria
• Cambria: Robin’s
• Paso Robles: Chino’s Rock and Tacos
• Pismo Beach: Splash Café
• San Luis Obispo: Big Sky Café, Black Sheep Grill, Buffalo Pub & Grill, Café Roma, Chino’s Rock and Tacos, Creeky Tiki, Jaffa Café, Koberl at Blue, Louisa’s Place, Luna Red, NOVO, Porter’s Truck, Spirit of San Luis, Splash Café, Taj Palace, Upper Crust Trattoria, Vieni Vai Trattoria, West End Espresso & Tea, and the Wild Donkey Café.
I hope you’ll join me in dining at these fine restaurants in support of ASN.

Among the new restaurants that have joined this fundraiser is the Wild Donkey Café, which is participating for the second year in a row. It’s owned and operated by George and Kay Kartsioukas, who previously owned and managed a restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District.

“This is a wonderful event as it’s a very worthwhile cause,” Kay pointed out. “We were in the San Francisco restaurant business for many years, and during that time we lost many employees as well as customers to AIDS. There are so many organizations that need help, so we try to do our best to help all that we can.”

You can also view the list of 24 restaurants helping ASN this year, and it provides links to the restaurants’ webpages at The ASN, a United Way Partner Agency, was founded in 1984 by a small group of SLO County residents as a grassroots response to the AIDS pandemic. A nonprofit organization, it provides support to residents living with HIV and AIDS, as well as their family and their friends. They improve the quality of life and dependence of their clients on an individual basis.

The ASN relies on a large pool of dedicated volunteers who coordinate client services and fundraising events, and they work with other nonprofits in the community. There is another way you can help ASN: Donate pantry items they so desperately need refilled. Visit their website to read the list of foods in demand year round, such as canned meats, peanut butter, soups, juices, cereal, pasta, rice mixes, and coffee or tea. Don’t forget personal toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, Kleenex, and more.

As ASN notes on its website, remember that there are multiple times a day you can participate: Try breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner, and a late-night snack. To longtime supporters and newcomers alike, these restaurants do so much to help ASN, so let’s do our part by joining friends and/or family to dine at these participating restaurants.

Contact Cuisine columnist Kathy Marcks Hardesty at