Tabrizi's is a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant, serving up elegantly plated and delicious meals with rave reviews. With fabulous food and a great waterfront view, Tabrizi's is also a sought-after wedding venue.
With Baltimore's restaurant week just around the corner, Tabrizi's was set to be one of the places local foodies were most looking forward to eating at.
However, because of one homeless man holding a sign, Tabrizi's will be closed to the public.
Michael Tabrizi, the chef and owner of the restaurant, explained why his restaurant will be closed in an interview with ABC 2. The Israeli emigrant said he stopped at a red light after working late one night and saw a homeless man on the side of the street. The man was holding a sign that said, "Help me, I'm hungry". Michael handed the man his card, letting him know that "he can come to my restaurant whenever I am open and eat for free".
But later that night, Michael made a slight change to his invitation; Instead of having that one man come and eat, he planned to invite all the homeless in Baltimore to his restaurant for a gourmet meal.
Hoping to serve over 1,000 people, Michael's menu is sure to please: Apple cider in champagne flutes, Chicken Cordon Bleu with sage cream sauce, spring salad and ice cream in a waffle bowl for dessert. Along with china place settings, the meal will be presented in an all-you-can-eat buffet style, completely free of charge.
The restaurant will close its regular service and serve the homeless for 5 days. An army of volunteers has signed up to help Michael with his goal. The video interview mentioned the buses and trolleys that have volunteered to shuttle those in need to Tabrizi's from shelters all over the city. Also, every member of the restaurant's staff has refused to be paid for their shifts during this week, and over 500 hundred volunteers have already signed up to help direct traffic, serve and clear the tables.
Though heartwarming and inspiring, this act of service won't come free of charge for the restaurant. About $20,000 (though more than this amount will be lost for not participating in restaurant week) is the estimated cost for Michael Tabrizi to give back to his community in such a big way. However, the restaurateur knows there are more important things to worry about.
Michael's wish is for people to "treat the homeless in a different way. People should remember it's always good to hear kindness, and it's important to look people in the eye. The homeless feel less human - like they're invisible. They just want to be respected."
Michael has also asked the staff to sit down and socialize with the patrons of Homeless Restaurant Week, to take the chance to mingle and "give them a good feeling". Michael isn't planning on turning anyone away and wants to help not only the diners but the volunteers as well.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.