Best SMB in America: OKRA Charity Saloon (Houston, TX)

best small business america - OKRA - Rubicon Global

best small business america - OKRA - Rubicon Global

Located in an old Prohibition-era building in downtown Houston, OKRA Charity Saloon has become the city’s favorite place to fill up a cup for philanthropy.

Visiting patrons purchase drinks from the large sprawling bar and receive tickets to cast a vote. The vote is then placed in a ballot box that represents four local charities. At the end of the month, the charity with the most votes receives all of the bar’s proceeds for the next month. The process repeats year round with rotating charities and has donated close to one million dollars to local organizations in need since doors opened in 2013!

Since there is no limit to how many votes are cast/drinks are purchased, the brains behind OKRA quickly realized they were going to need to have an extensive drink menu to match the demand of the vote.

The saloon boasts a huge beer selection of craft cans, bottles, and local draft. In addition to brews, the friendly and knowledgeable faces behind the bar will help you craft a signature cocktail from a long list of liquors and additives. The drinks are the driving force behind OKRA’s popularity, but it is truly the unique and curated menu of bar bites that keep customers filling up the ballot boxes.

Although the menu is limited compared to other watering holes in the area, the food pairings at OKRA Charity Saloon are expertly crafted.

With several paninis made in-house, the homemade waffle fries serve as the perfect complement. In fact, the fries come in three finger lickin’ flavors: parmesan and rosemary, Cajun spice, and salt and pepper.

In addition to fried spuds, the saloon would be remiss if they didn’t capitalize on the namesake, fried okra! The batter is light and fluffy and pairs perfectly with an array of dipping sauces. OKRA also serves warm chocolate chip cookies with cold milk that conjure up all of the nostalgic feels of childhood.

The 3,400 square foot space OKRA resides in lends itself nicely to a dance floor and the in-house DJ – playing everyone’s’ favorite popular music from the 90s, early 2000s, and whatever is currently floating on the airwaves.

Pool tables and a large assortment of board games are also available for all you non-dancers out there. There really is something for everyone!

Fun and games aside, the charitable mission at OKRA’s core really is something to be celebrated. We chose to highlight this small business because of the large impact in the surrounding community. The emphasis on local organizations and neighbors helping neighbors aligns perfectly with the Rubicon mission. Hats off to the OKRA team who’s behind one of the most innovative and unique small businesses around. You guys definitely put the FUN back in fundraising!

 

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Editor Note: References made to businesses/companies in this post are not meant to convey endorsement by Rubicon of those companies in any way.