Bartending staff from Kru Restaurant in Sacramento are donating their tips to suicide prevention in tribute to chef Anthony Bourdain.
On Fridays and Saturdays, tips given to Kru's bar staff from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. during the restaurant's Ngo Reservations late-night service will be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, according to a post on Kru's Facebook page.
The restaurant at 3135 Folsom Blvd. is also placing donation jars throughout the bar for people to give money directly, said Kimio Bazett, one of Kru's owners. He said Kru would then match all donations collected dollar for dollar.
The fundraiser is set to run through the end of June, but Bazett said it could end up being extended depending on how things go and if people keep giving.
Bourdain took his own life Friday in France, where he was filming for his CNN series "Parts Unknown."
"One of our inspirations behind Ngo Reservations was, of course, Anthony Bourdain," according to Kru's Facebook page. "While we are all still reeling from his loss, we want to do our part to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention."
Bazett said the idea came from Kru's bar manager, Nick Amano-Dolan.
While he described Amano-Dolan as a kind and big-hearted person, Bazett said that this idea was still a big ask and went way above and beyond what was expected.
“In no way would I have guessed (Amano-Dolan) would be so generous and selfless,” Bazett said.
On Thursday night, Amano-Dolan said he had been talking with a few other restaurant managers about the state of mental health in the restaurant and bar industry. People in hospitality are always taking care of other people, he said, but they had talked about the need to find balance in their own lives, take care of themselves and set a good example for their employees.
So, Amano-Dolan said it was a strange thing to wake up the next morning and hear about losing someone like Bourdain.
Amano-Dolan said his goal is about keeping the conversation going. Amano-Dolan said the message has resonated among his colleagues — some local bartenders have volunteered to come in and work during the shifts where tips will be given as donations.
“It has been a beautiful thing so far,” Amano-Dolan said.
The reason why he thinks it has hit everyone so hard is because Bourdain was an "every man," who started from the bottom of the restaurant business and worked his way up, said Bazett. Bourdain also wasn't afraid to talk about his struggles with drug addiction or the ups and downs of his life.
“A lot of people can relate to that," said Bazett. "Myself included."
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct address for Kru.