Surf’s Up restaurant on Madison Street hauled in nearly $2,000 in two hours during the Black Economic Empowerment Rally (BEER) July 26.

Surf’s Up, 5815 W. Madison, saw a steady stream of customers for Saturday’s sales drive event sponsored by Austin African American Business Networking Association. Owners Denise and Eric Roy thanked the packed room for supporting their business.

The husband-wife team plan to franchise their eatery with more restaurants slated to open in Maywood and the South Side. The couple said they’ve also received interests from out-of-state would-be franchisees.

AAABNA plans to host additional BEER events for more Austin and West Side businesses.

Final tallies from Saturday’s event were still being compiled as of Monday, according to the organization’s executive director, Malcolm Crawford. 

The rally, he says, is an opportunity to do something collectively in the community and a way to kickstart a person’s business.

“We look at it as we bring the people to you and you do the rest,” Crawford said prior to Saturday’s event. “We give people an opportunity to taste your food, to get together. It’s something people can do in the community. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

The last rally took place at black-owned Cunningham’s Subway at Lake and Pulaski in May. Crawford said U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (7th), state Rep. La Shawn Ford (8th) and Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) were among the attendees.

About 150 people showed up at the last gathering. Saturday’s event drew just as many if not more. 

Surf’s Up owner Eric Roy said the restaurant already has a good amount of traffic coming through the doors. Roy anticipated that Saturday’s event was a good opportunity to bring in first-time customers.

“It’s always a benefit when you have support from the community,” Roy, 40, said prior to the event.

Surf’s Up’s menu features fried lobster, catfish, wings and even a crab leg dinner.

Roy, who lives in Oak Park, described his restaurant as a “fast-and-casual place” offering a lot of different items — like dirty rice and greens — that you don’t get in a typical fast-food restaurant. Besides offering a unique restaurant that’s needed in Austin, Roy said he and his wife also offer a new perspective for Austin residents.

“We’re a young, African-American couple as well, so we give the children and the community something else to set their eyes on,” said Roy, who grew up on the West Side. 

Karl Brinson, president of the Westside Branch NAACP, said people on the West Side don’t do a good job of spending money in the community. But he’s hopeful events like the BEER Rally helps the community learn to support itself.

“Once you spend money in the community, more things can grow in the community,” said Crawford, who attended Saturday. “If you take money outside the community, you weaken your community economically.”

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