The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas reopened this morning (Thursday, August 31) as Houston gets back on its feet following unprecedented rainfall and flooding over the last week.
Even as an estimated 30 percent of the city remains under water as of Thursday morning, flood waters have receded in much of the affected area as of this morning. In Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, where the IACC offices are located it, shops and restaurants had already begun reopening their doors, in some cases as early as Monday of this week, the day following some of the worst inundation.
At lunchtime, we checked in with restaurateur and IACC member Giancarlo Ferrara owner of Amalfi Ristorante Italiano e Bar, who like many of his neighbors, reopened on Monday morning.
He and his wife Lisa have been preparing and donating food for first responders since they returned to the restaurant, working directly with the Houston Fire Department and other agencies to coordinate the hand-off of lasagne like the ones that Giancarlo is preparing in the image above.
IACC member Mascalzone (above) was also open Monday morning. Owners Andrea and Rachel Magi had their staff preparing calzoncini and pasta al forno (baked pastas) for Houston-area shelters.
Like many Houston restaurants, Mascalzone used a newly formed Facebook group called Hurricane Harvey Houston Restaurant and Bar Updates to connect with shelter organizers who were in search of warm food for newly arrived evacuees. (A special thanks to Houston food media icon Cleverley Stone for setting that up!)
IACC restaurant members Cane Rosso and Sud Italia were also back online early this week, feeding hungry Houstonians. Owners were eager to get back to business, they said. Otherwise, many flood-impacted locals and regulars wouldn’t have had access to freshly prepared food, they noted when we caught up with them this morning. All but one of the chamber’s restaurant members were open for business as of Thursday, with the one outstanding venue slated to reopen any day.
Currently here at the IACC, as we reopen and check in with our members, we are putting together resources on how our members and our counterparts across the U.S. and Italy can best contribute to aid and relief efforts.
Please check back soon for updates…