MENDON (CBS) – The blackout in the Back Bay this week actually brought some good news – to the big cats at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon.

Free food.

Expensive free food.

The Capital Grille gave us a call and said they had a bunch of meat, that it was perfectly fine, it just doesn’t meet their standards for human consumption because they keep all of their meat fresh, it’s never frozen and their electricity went out because of the big fire in Boston,” Betsey Brewer, executive at Southwick’s Zoo, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Friday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin reports

“They said that the cost of the meat was about $20,000 and it was 2,500 pounds of some of their top meat.”

“They asked us if we would take it. They would donate it to our cats. We have two tigers, a lion and a leopard and Southwick’s Zoo is a private zoo, so we don’t get any government funding. So, anything like that is well appreciated.”

The zoo posted several photos on its Facebook page of the cats devouring the meat.

The Capital Grille donated 2,500 pounds of prime New York sirloin lost in the Boston Blackout to Southwick’s Zoo. (Photo courtesy: Southwick’s Zoo)

“Our cats got to dine on Capital Grille steaks,” Brewer said. “I don’t get to dine on Capital Grille steaks very often.”

“They loved them. The leopard was a little more interesting in what was going on all around him. But our lion is very food-motivated and he got a hold of a 15-pound chunk of meat, nobody was going to go anywhere near him. He was guarding that with his life.”

Brewer said they usually feed their cats “a combination of what we call ‘tube meat,’ which is kind of a like a hamburger, but we also go beyond the standards of that and buy them chunk meat which has bone and hide because it’s much healthier for them.”

“But the bone-in steaks that they gave us, oh they love chewing on the bones.”

Southwick’s Zoo opens for the season April 14.

Comments (18)
  1. Rob Cleary says:

    Great publicity stunt. Especially after all of the whining here yesterday about someone touching uncooked meat without gloves. Insurance will cover the meat and the Capital Grill gets some great publicity for free. Given their own way the capital grill would have every one of these animals represented on their menu.

    1. Hooper says:

      What a cynic. Enjoy your joyless life.

  2. Rusty says:

    finally, a restaurant/food place comes up with a good idea on what to do with their food waste!! Kudos Capital!!!!

  3. Scott says:

    And the PINE STREET INN Shelter wouldn’t have been a better IDEA? This is astounding. How callous can they be – Pine Street or the Boston Food Bank would have been a better use of this food. Its alot closer to home too – right in Boston.

    1. Rob Cleary says:


      1. SR says:

        No Rob, It says that it was perfectly fine, it just doesn’t meet their standards. So, they could’ve donated to the shelter.

      2. Mike S says:

        @SR – Mass Health is very particular about how food is stored and prepared – even for the homeless. I doubt they’d let steaks that had been standing outside all day be fed to humans.

    2. PeeWee says:

      Sounds to me like you don’t like animals. The meat wasn’t fit enough for human consumption, and it didn’t go to waste–it went to help a private organization that relies on funding and private donations.

      1. Roze says:

        Don’t think he likes people either, seeing how he wants to feed them unsafe meat.

    3. Mary says:

      No, its unfit for human consumption. Every restaurant had to be inspected upon reopening. When the power is out the fridges go out. When the fridges go out the temperature of the meat goes up- spending any significant time above 40 degrees renders food “unsafe” by the book. They can’t serve it to people- be it at the Capital Grill or at the Pine Street Inn. What they did was better than tossing it.

    4. Hooper says:

      Shelters, rarely, if ever, take food that is considered leftovers or not from a first-person donation. It’s a cleanliness concern and by giving food that goes, for any reason, unconsumed, is not part of the message of human dignity. The food was not spoiled, so it is a delightful opportunity to know the animals were able to feast. It never had any shot of going to humans, so relax.

  4. Gluten Free Girl says:

    Wow….There may be more to this story than we are seeing but from what I read I think this is heart warming and amazing! I’m sure this was a huge help for the zoo and from the sound of things they are grateful. What more could we ask for?

  5. Julie the Jarhead says:

    Nom, nom, nom.

  6. JC says:

    Great job Capital Grille! Sadly, another well-known Boston restaurant resorted to “throwing pounds of fish away” due to the power outage, even though they have a distribution center and many others restaurants in the area. Too bad they could not see past the insurance $$ and do a good deed. Shameful.

  7. bubbykins says:

    tee hee

  8. moterhed says:

    Not a stunt .. But, when i visit Boston ill be sure to stop in with some business. Nice thinking Capitol Grill

  9. Jerry from Mt. Laurel says:

    I don’t know anyone at Capitol Grill, but I refuse to think the upper echelon had any motive other than to make sure the meat didn’t go to waste. What a nice thing to do. I applaud their effort. No, I’m not naive. I happen to be someone who still believes there are well-intentioned people in this world.

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