Latino-owned restaurant provides food to first-responders: ‘We’re all in this together’


Courtesy of DSTRKT Bar & Grill

DSTRKT Bar & Grill worker prepares pizzas to give-out to first-responders.

As the virus continues to spread, with 5,994 reported cases of COVID-19, one Latino-owned Chicago restaurant came together to deliver individual food packages to first- responders.

Frank Maza and Joy Chavez, owners of DSTRKT Bar & Grill, said they planned this with their team last Wednesday, distributing food items like chicken wings, pizzas and salads for doctors, nurses and police officers. 

“We tried to turn a negative into a positive,” Chavez said. “We wanted to come together as a team to show that our first-responders are not alone.” 

For Maza, this represented a will to show appreciation to the sacrifices and work of first-responders.

We knew we wanted to do something to give back to the community and do our part in helping,” he said. 

The distribution, which took place for a period of three days, was sent to those who work for the Norwegian American Hospital, 14th District Police Station, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the National Guard. 

But, Chavez and Maza said that it did come with some challenges.

I think one of the biggest challenges was making sure we were on time and our commitment to anybody who we were handing to that day,” Maza said. 

Despite the challenges, the owners mentioned that at the end of the day the experience was immensely rewarding. 

“It was exhausting, but it was worth it,” Maza added. “We were excited… we didn’t feel it until the end of the day.” 

As a small business, Chavez and Maza said that they were proud they were able to distribute the food to over 1,000 people, adding that it was all a complete eye-opener that showed them to never take anything for granted during these uncertain times. 

“This experience was super humbling for us.. from being open everyday to not being open at all,” Chavez said. “We realized we had to do something to keep our neighborhood going. Everyone has been helping us… they all helped us.” 

For Maza, everyone is in it together and every little thing can help during these times. 

“We don’t have answers to anything and we don’t know how long we’re going to stay open,” he said. “We’re trying to find good in any bad situation. There’s always going to be somebody out there who’s worse than you. We’re blessed to see another week and another day.” 

But, they are not stopping there.

Both of them remarked that they will still keep this going thanks to some generous donations they received from the We Can Help Foundation, as well as their start-up GOFUNDME page, where 100 percent of the proceeds will go to first-responders. 

“Regardless of how tough things may seem, if you dig deep inside you can still do good,” Maza said.