Kenjo's BBQ

Kenjo Kelley Jr. prepares a meal to-go Tuesday at Kenjo’s BBQ in Brazoria.

I t is with a heavy heart that I begin writing The Scoop this week.

For months I’ve written about new businesses coming to the area much more often than I’ve written about closures. Southern Brazoria County was booming and people were excited.

Times are now so uncertain. Most development plans are still on, but things are changing by the day.

I feel for the restaurant owners who have had to lay people off. I worked as a waitress and bartender in college (along with major support from my lovely parents) and know what solid income restaurant work can provide. My heart aches for the service industry and every other industry and person impacted by this unprecedented pandemic.

But I’m also impressed at how quickly businesses are adapting to necessary changes, how local people are supporting them and how selfless Brazoria County proves time and again to be.

I’m including a few businesses and the ways they are offering services this week, but this is by no means comprehensive. Some were brought to my attention and others I encountered through working from home.

I’d like to encourage everyone to send me business tips I can include in my column next week to madison.mccarty@thefacts.com.

I’ll also use this opportunity to be another voice saying order delivery or takeout from your local restaurants, big and small. They’ll all be feeling the effects of running a business in uncharted waters.

Shop online from local stores or use a delivery service to get necessary items locally. It’ll benefit everyone in this community in the long run.

Giving back

We’d all be hard-pressed to forget how Kenjo Kelley helped the community during and after Hurricane Harvey. He’s at it again.

Free meals for adults and kids are available at Kenjo’s BBQ, 200 E. San Bernard St., Brazoria.

“I seen a need for it because all the schools were getting shut down and a lot of people were getting sent home from their jobs,” Kelley told me. “The first thing we always want to do is help out people who are going through tough times.”

In a time when he’s seen his business decrease, he continues to give free meals to anyone who says they could use it.

“That is expected with this,” Kelley said. “We just wanna get people who are not able to provide for their families right now, just get them the food they need.”

As long as he continues to break even, the daily, free, hot food will be available. That’s a great reason to buy food there, too.

Customers can call 979-798-4227 before going to pick up food. They have a drive-thru and curbside pickup.

Kenjo’s is doing free delivery in Angleton, Lake Jackson, Clute, West Columbia, Brazoria, Bar X Ranch, “basically everything south of 1462,” he said.

Angleton’s Lunacy Tacos had a similar idea. Jim Luna, his wife and son Ryan Luna, who owns and operates the taco stand, pitched in $400 to feed as many Angleton ISD students a free taco and drink as they could.

Community members caught wind and donations started pouring in. These came from Tommy Bailey at Straight Fence Co., Octavio Rodriguez from Front Street Auto Tech, Ruben Gonzales from Elite Construction, Johnny Williams, Ryan Huey, Jason Trevino at T.E.S. Electrical and Quartermoon Productions.

Up to about $2,000, Lunacy Tacos is giving away tacos and drinks to kids and first responders.

“We’re doing all we can to help our community, and I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of unsung heroes out here,” Jim Luna said.

This relatively new business is facing adversity head-on.

“We’ve been blessed and what we’re trying to do with Lunacy is keep our employees employed and working,” Luna said.

Any first responders with credentials and Angleton ISD students with IDs can get free meals. The more who pay to eat at Lunacy or donate money, the more kids and first responders will get free food. There’s no downside there.

“It’s good that they’re getting fed … a lot of them depend on a meal during the day that they may not get,” Luna said.

Lunacy Tacos is open from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Eateries adapting

On the River, what one might consider a Freeport landmark, is temporarily closed as there was not enough traffic to keep it open. But owner Drew Ryder is offering plenty of food for delivery or pick-up at Swamp Shack, 111 Abner Jackson Parkway, Lake Jackson.

“It’s going pretty OK. Lunches are pretty quiet but we’re doing fairly well at dinner,” Ryder said.

Crawfish remains a big draw and Ryder is doing some family specials. These are lower-priced meals for a family of four. The prices range from $20 to 35 for four meals.

“They’re moderately priced and they’re good food,” Ryder said.

I ordered catfish and shrimp through Waitr delivery on Friday night. I read the description but still didn’t expect all the food I got — it’s a great deal.

Starting Tuesday, Swamp Shack is doing ready-to-cook boxed meals with a choice of chicken, pork ribs or ground chuck.

Those who order it will get all the things ready to prepare, including a vegetable or side, loaf of bread and uncooked white rice.

“The big caveat is four rolls of toilet paper,” Ryder said.

I love that creative marketing. These ready-to-prepare meals will come with six to 10 servings that can be cooked all together or in portions. It’s moderately priced at $6 to 7 per portion, but you’ll have to buy the whole thing, not just a certain number of portions.

“We don’t know where the end is; we don’t know what recovery looks like,” Ryder said.

But they’re getting support from many local cities and companies who do large orders of food. Tuesday, a friend came in and bought $500 in gift cards. That sounds like a great friend to me.

Many businesses are adapting in similar ways. Since Chuck E. Cheese can’t welcome any precious children to play for a while, they are offering economical family meal options.

The location at Brazos Mall is offering carryout wings or pizza for $4.99. They also have videos for kids to play along with on their Facebook page. So sweet.

Maddy McCarty, assistant managing editor for The Facts, writes The Scoop every Wednesday in The Facts. If you hear a good rumor, pass it along and we’ll find out if there is any truth to it. Contact Maddy at 979-237-0151 or madison.mccarty@thefacts.com.

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