Free Election Meals Help Hungry Voters And Phoenix Area Restaurants

Published: Monday, November 2, 2020 - 3:36pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 1:11pm
Hana Japanese Eatery
Hana Japanese Eatery is among 12 local restaurants participating in Chefs For The Polls.

Several Valley chefs are partnering with a nonprofit to provide meals at polling places. The program not only feeds voters, it also nourishes local restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

World Central Kitchen is a nonprofit founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres. The group mostly provides meals in the aftermath of natural disasters, but in anticipation of long lines at polling places, World Central Kitchen launched Chefs For The Polls

The initiative supplied funding for local chefs and restaurants in nearly 30 states to provide meals. Phoenix Chef Danielle Leoni, co-owner of The Breadfruit and Rum Bar, will serve 2,000 salads on Election Day using locally sourced shrimp.

“It’s a shrimp farm up in Gila Bend, it’s called Arizona Desert Shrimp and so here we go supporting a local, sustainable shrimp farm that's in our economy,” she said.

Leoni said World Central Kitchen awarded the Phoenix area nearly $120,000 to provide meals on Election Day and the four days leading up to it.

“These are all little places like me that are on the brink of losing, losing everything we have," she said. "And I am so grateful, it makes me teary eyed that I have the opportunity, you know, like to serve my community but in turn like give me the chance one more time to pay my rent one more time."

Leoni and her volunteers will hand out meals at eight polling sites on Election Day. A project spokesperson said 11 other local restaurants served more than 14,000 meals before Tuesday. 

World Central Kitchen describes the effort as nonpartisan and a way to feed people of all political parties and beliefs, along with non-voters.

“You know you can be with a lot of people but still feel alone, it’s like a really weird  dichotomy,” Leoni said. “I want people to realize that they’re not alone and they are seen, I want them to feel recognized and thanked for this effort.”

Chefs For The Polls — Phoenix 

  • 16,300 Meals
  • 12 Restaurant Partners
  • 10 Poll Locations (Primary)

Polling Locations

  • Gila River Arena
  • Southern Plaza 
  • Phoenix Convention Center
  • McDowell Square
  • Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum 
  • Camelback Center
  • Mesa Convention Center
  • Phoenix Union High School District
  • San Tan Village
  • ASU Fitness Center

Restaurant Partners

  • The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
  • Tacos Chiwas
  • Nonna's Urban Eatery
  • The MARKET by Jennifer's
  • Hanna Japanese Eatery
  • Bitter & Twisted
  • Sweet Republic
  • M'Ole
  • Meak Kitchen
  • Joyride Taco House
  • Federal Pizza
  • Windsor
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