UAE restaurants serving free meals to those affected by the storm

From Operation Falafel to Taqado Mexican Kitchen, several venues are dishing out support

All UAE branches of Circle Cafe are participating in the community meal initiative on Friday. Photo: Circle Cafe
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Amid the devastation of the UAE's recent historic storm – from submerged cars to damaged houses – many stories of community support have emerged.

Residents have gone out of their way to save stray animals, and a number of Dubai vets have offered free and discounted services to help injured pets. Now, a number of UAE restaurants have pledged to support people who have been affected by the storm by giving them a free meal.

“In the wake of the recent heavy rainfall and weather disturbances that have affected our beloved UAE, we believe in coming together to support one another in times of need,” Circle Cafe operators said in a post shared on Instagram.

Until Sunday, those who visit any outlet of the cafe looking for a community support meal will be served a free dish and water, available until “supplies last”.

Similar statements have been released by other restaurant chains, including Operation Falafel, High Joint Burger and Zaroob.

“We hope this gesture adds a little warmth to your day,” operators of Zaroob said in a statement. The Middle Eastern chain is offering a free zaatar manoushe and water to those who visit its branches in Motor City, Dubai Marina and on Sheikh Zayed Road.

High Joint Burger in Dubai is offering a signature burger and water at its Emirates Towers, Al Manara and Al Khawaneej branches, while Operation Falafel is serving free falafel pitta with fries and water at its Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Hills Mall, Al Qusais, Festival City, Motor City and Media City branches.

Also joining in the initiative is Taqado Mexican Kitchen, which has several outlets across Dubai, as well as Chin Chin. All these restaurants are under the cloud kitchen company Kitopi.

"The UAE is home, and Kitopi is a homegrown company," Kitopi chief executive and co-founder Mo Ballout tells The National. "During the past few days, residents have faced lots of challenges, and we wanted to show our simple support of sharing meals through our brands."

He adds: "Our mission is to satisfy the world's appetite to create joy, and this stands true, especially during trying times."

Several Kitopi restaurants discontinued operations during the peak of the flooding. Delivery platforms such as Careem, Noon and Talabat were also halted temporarily due to road closures and dangerous conditions.

"We made sure that our operations colleagues on the ground are safe and well taken care of, going as far as pausing operations until we make sure all premises are well accounted for," says Ballout.

The free meals are available until Sunday, for pick-up or dine-in, during the venues' respective operating hours.

Kitopi brands aside, Dubai Irish pub Fibber Magee's is also offering free lunch, as well as a drink, on Friday to people affected.

“Now that's what I call proper Irish hospitality and kindness,” says one Instagram user who commented on the venue's post.

Updated: April 19, 2024, 2:45 PM