Giving back while dining out: Houston's top restaurants step up for a good cause

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Houston's top restaurants step up for a good cause. (KTRK)

Houstonians are known for their food and philanthropy, and those two factors collided last Thursday night, when Dining Out for Life sent Houstonians to some of the city's hottest restaurants for a good cause.

More than 40 restaurants participated in the annual event, which is a fundraiser to benefit AIDS Foundation Houston.

"It's a great cause, and it's so much fun," said Jessica Rossman, one of the co-chairs for the annual fundraiser.

Rossman, the chairman of the AIDS Foundation Houston Board, loaded up a party bus with some of the best supporters of the cause and cruised to a number of Houston hot spots to check out the scene.

Travis Torrence, a fellow board member, helped make sure the foodie-centric bus ran on time. The first festive stop was El Real, the retro Tex-Mex restaurant in the heart of Montrose. That's where Jennifer Caswell, wife and business partner local celebrity Chef Bryan Caswell, joined the bus tour.

El Tiempo, also in Montrose, was the next stop. That was followed with a trip to the Heights for the very in-the-moment seafood restaurant, Starfish.

The success of the fundraiser is dependent upon Houstonians who get their friends to dine out at the participating restaurants on that specific date. This year, it was April 26th. For example, Debbie and Rudy Festari hosted a table at B&B Butchers.

The night ended, at least for the bus load of supporters, at Emmaline, the current "it" restaurant in Houston's inner loop. There was a lot of table-hopping as guests, some perhaps fueled by a good dose of champagne, clinked glasses and shared plates for a good cause.

Exactly how much the night of dining out raises is not yet known, but many annual participants are already planning for next year. After all, as Dr. Roland Maldonado mused, it's hard to say no when all you have to do is eat out at a good restaurant.

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