The Face Behind the Prime Rib Legacy at GLIDE
If you ask Joe Betz for his expert opinion on the best way to prepare prime rib, his response is simple: Slow cooking and good quality meat. “You have to have good beef. If you put salt and pepper and all this seasoning stuff, it doesn’t really help.”
The Betz family has owned the iconic San Francisco restaurant, House of Prime Rib, since 1986. For the past 28 years, the restaurant has donated thousands of pounds of prime rib to GLIDE’s Christmas Eve lunch, making it the most anticipated holiday event of the year. With the prime rib as the center of attention, the Free Daily Meals team prepares about 2,500 meals for the day, including 100 that are delivered to encampments across the city.
On the first year that Joe Betz donated his famous prime rib to GLIDE, he distinctly remembers the shock of seeing so many people walking through the meal line. “It made an impression on me,” Joe said. “People fall on hard times and it could happen to all of us.” He was drawn to GLIDE’s focus on building empathy among community and resolved to make his donation a tradition in the Tenderloin.
For the Betz family, the physical act of giving back to the community through volunteerism is just as important as other forms of donation. Every Christmas Eve, Joe volunteers at GLIDE with his two sons and grandchildren, serving up his restaurant’s prime rib with generous portions of side dishes.
GLIDE’s focus on hope, celebration and radical love is what inspires Joe and keeps him coming back year after year. To this day, the prime rib luncheon on Christmas Eve is a source of comfort that sustains the community through decades of ups and downs, celebrations and losses, and, more recently, a global pandemic. “GLIDE has always been very close to me,” he explains. “There have always been people who are well off, and people who are not well off. And I think it’s everybody’s social conscience to help out.”