Charity is on the menu and on tap this holiday season at dozens of Long Island restaurants — from big chains to independents — that give back to the community. Some host fundraising events, donate a dollar, a free meal or a drink, and even provide tons of prepared food to soup kitchens and food banks.
Here are some of the most generous givebacks and the worthy causes that benefit when you sit down to dine or have a drink after a day of shopping, or gather with friends to enjoy a bit of holiday cheer.
RAISE YOUR GLASS
Several restaurants pledge to donate a dollar to charity when customers order a drink from a special menu. The Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar in Huntington Station will donate $1 to ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer, for every Pumpkin Stache Shake sold through the end of November. The $6 shake blends vanilla ice cream and house-made pumpkin pie filling, topped with freshly whipped cream and pumpkin seed brittle. Customers can donate an additional $1 to add a souvenir “Stache” straw to any shake or float.
Walt Whitman Shops, 160 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station; 631-271-3891; Zinburger.com
Patrons of drinking age can raise a glass of beer, wine or a fancy cocktail to benefit hurricane victims, hunger relief or the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas will donate a dollar for each Rico Fascino specialty cocktail purchased during the monthlong campaign, ending Nov. 30, to benefit United for Puerto Rico, an initiative helping residents of Puerto Rico to replace belongings lost in the one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria during the summer. The guava, orange juice and Puerto Rican rum cocktail created by two Spuntino employees sells for $11.
The Gallery at Westbury Plaza, 1002 Old Country Rd., Garden City; 516-228-5400; spuntinowinebar.com
Lessing’s Hospitality Group in Great River is pouring out holiday cheer with its Wine Not campaign at Post Office Café in Babylon, Maxwell’s in Islip, Library Café in Farmingdale, Finnegan’s in Huntington and Southside in Bay Shore. For each glass of wine purchased from a special list, a meal is donated to Feeding America hunger relief. Order a bottle — the equivalent of four glasses of wine — and an equal number of meals is donated, said Jennifer Cantin, Lessing’s director of marketing.
Lessing’s Drink Beer, Give Back promotion is on tap at its Mirabelle Restaurant and Tavern in Stony Brook, View in Oakdale and Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor. Ten percent of the proceeds from every 16-ounce draft of Lessing’s Local Cheer, a deep amber ale made by Blue Point Brewing Co. in Patchogue, will be donated to a local charity during December.
In the Hamptons, Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor contributes $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each of the five specialty cocktails on its Shades of Autumn menu, which range from $14 to $16.
126 Main St., Sag Harbor; 631-725-0900; lulusagharbor.com
Outback, the Australia-themed American steakhouse chain, is joining forces with San Antonio, Texas-based Operation Homefront to support military families making the transition to civilian life. For every sale of a Patriotic Punch ($7), a dollar goes to the At Outback, We Serve Those Who Serve campaign for veterans struggling with housing payments and other essential household expenses. In addition, for every purchase of a Foster’s Lager Big Bloke, MillerCoors will donate $1 to Operation Homefront.
The Capital Grille upscale steakhouse at Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City lends a helping hand to Carlo’s Legacy in Hempstead Village, which operates a soup kitchen and provides housing and support services for homeless veterans. The Grille has donated more than 76,500 pounds of food to Carlo’s Legacy as part of parent company Darden Restaurants’ Harvest campaign, said company spokeswoman Vanessa Tostes.
630 Old Country Rd., Garden City; 516-746-1675; thecapitalgrille.com
HELPINGS FOR THE HUNGRY
Darden, which operates Olive Garden Italian Kitchen and the Seasons 52 restaurant in Roosevelt Field, has donated more than 100 million pounds of food — or 83.3 million meals — to nonprofits nationwide through its ongoing Harvest program, according to company spokeswoman Vanessa Tostes.
Each week the restaurants prepare surplus meat and vegetable dishes for the Island Harvest food bank in Bethpage, and Adults & Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities Inc., a Bethpage-based provider of educational and other services for people with autism and learning and developmental disabilities.
Zorn’s of Bethpage also makes holiday food donations to the needy. Company president and CEO Merrill Zorn said side dishes, including mashed broccoli and sweet potatoes, are donated to meals distributed by Island Harvest and The INN (Interfaith Nutrition Network).
Zorn’s of Bethpage, 4321 Hempstead Tpke., Bethpage; 516-731-5500; zornsofbethpage.com
FOR THE YOUNG ONES
Local restaurants are also doing their best to put a smile on children’s faces during the holidays. The Scotto Brothers are hosting a Marine Toys for Tots toy drive on Dec. 4 at Fox Hollow, 7755 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury, 516-921-1415; and on Dec. 11 at Water Mill Caterers, 711 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown, 631-724-3242. Families who bring an unwrapped toy can enjoy a Willy Wonka-style feast of homemade cookies, brownies, ice-cream sundaes, cotton candy and hot chocolate.
Applebee’s will host breakfast with Santa fundraisers for the Marine Toys for Tots program at its locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk on Dec. 9 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Admission is $10.
Children are also beneficiaries at the 17th annual Christmas Eve pig roast at Almond in Bridgehampton. Ten percent of the $35 charged for the dinner of roast suckling pig and seasonal side dishes goes to the Pajama Program, which provides new, warm pajamas and books to children in need in the United States and around the world.
1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton; 631-537-5665; almondrestaurant.com.