In March 2016, after a devastating fire destroyed the Humane Society of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, killing dozens of dogs, Cane Rosso owner Jay Jerrier, a well-documented dog lover, donated a night of Cane Rosso Deep Ellum sales to the Humane Society. Dallas do-gooders crowded the restaurant, waiting in line for up to two hours to buy pizza for a good cause, and raised $16,000 in one dinner service. Cane Rosso then added another $4,000 and donated $20,000 to the Humane Society.
Now, Jerrier is hosting a similar fundraiser for a disaster of such a magnitude that it could be weeks before we fully understand the amount of devastation. Last week, Hurricane Harvey ripped through South Texas, causing extensive damage in Port Aransas and Corpus Christi before weakening into a tropical storm and stalling over Southeast Texas, where the storm has been dumping feet, not inches, of water on the flood-prone region. Houston has flooded worse this week than at any other time in its lengthy, hurricane-addled existence, and Jerrier, who recently opened two Cane Rosso locations in Houston, is rallying Dallas once again to raise money through pizza.
Starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, 100 percent of sales (both food and drink) at Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum will go to flood relief efforts in Houston.
"I've been laying awake worried about everyone since this shit started," Jerrier says. "Not only our staff, but we've made lots of great restaurant friends and dog-rescue friends. It's a drop in the bucket, I know — but I can't just sit still."
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Both of Cane Rosso's Houston locations — one in Montrose and another in the Heights — have been closed since last week, Jerrier says. "As far as I know, we still have power, but assume we will lose all of our food as we've been pretty much closed since last week," he says. "Unknown if they are taking on water. No idea when we'll get open."
He's checked in with his staff there, he says, and everyone is doing OK, relatively speaking. Jerrier hasn't decided which nonprofit he'll donate Tuesday's profits to, but he'll announce the recipient once his staff finds the right one.
"I would prefer to do something truly local," he says.
If the crowds at tomorrow's fundraiser are anything like last year's, expect long waits but high spirits. Last time Southeast Texas needed help, Dallasites came out in droves to heed the call. This time will likely be no different.