KEW GARDENS — When it comes to helping victims of Hurricane Sandy, two Queens restaurants did their part, one drink at a time.
The sister restaurants, Kew Garden's Austin's Steak and Ale House and Bayside's Bourbon Street, raised much-needed cash for storm victims at simultaneous parties on Nov. 16. The fundraisers, which featured open bars, buffets and DJs, helped the restaurants raise more than $5,000 for hurricane relief.
The turnout was strong at Austin's, in spite of limited promotion time.
"Last I saw, I went home at 9 and we had at least 80 wrist bands sold, and that doesn't include the people that were just in the bar," said Colleen LaRusso, a manger at Austin's, located at 82-70 Austin St.
The party featured entertainers from affected areas, with bartenders and DJs from Rockaway and Breezy Point.
Based on the success of the parties, both restaurants are sponsoring gift-card drives, and LaRusso said that they've collected more than $700 in gift cards to American Express, Target and Home Depot.
Holding a benefit party was a natural idea at Austin's, where several employees have ties to the Rockaways, LaRusso said.
"The other manager, her parents lost their house in Breezy," she said. "One of the guys that works here as a server, he was living in a basement in Rockaway. It flooded and he lost everything he owned.
"We knew a lot of the people affected by it, so you want to do what you can to help those in need."