LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Three celebrities have a hand in helping small businesses right here in Arkansas. Entrepreneur and reality TV star Marcus Lemonis started a program called Plating Change.

With the help of major names in Hollywood, he gives money to struggling restaurants. Lindsey’s Hospitality House and Barbecue, Trio’s and Doe’s Eat Place all made the list. It’s all thanks to North Little Rock native Mary Steenburgen and her husband Ted Danson.

Little Rock restaurants like Doe’s Eat Place have gotten the hang of sending meals out the door, but a request of 3,500 meals from famous entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis was something owner Katherine Eldridge never expected.

“I got off the phone and I was like what just happened,” Eldridge said.

It’s part of his new program called Plating Change where he asks some of his fellow A-list friends to pick restaurants to help during the pandemic. North Little Rock native Mary Steenburgen and her husband Ted Danson picked each one because they have a personal connection to them.

“I just want you to know that the first place Mary took me 26, seven, eight years ago was Doe’s,” Danson said.  

“It’s the coolest place first of all, the décor the way it looks, the vibe of it. The tamales, I’m embarrassed to say, I literally ate twelve at one sitting,” Steenburgen said.

Lindsey’s was given $40,000 for 4,000 meals. Doe’s and Trio’s both got $35,000 for 3,500 meals. 
“I thought I was having a dream,” Trio’s Owner Kapi Peck said.

As Peck found out, these meals come with a mandate. They are to help feed the hungry.
“Drive this battle against food insecurity,” Lemonis said.

Trio’s has already started sending orders to non-profits across Little Rock.
“We’ve been to Jericho Way. We’ve been to Philander Smith several times,” Peck said.

With a scoop of pasta and serving of green beans, each meal boxed up and out the door is not only keeping the kitchens running-but filling the bellies of those in need

Both Doe’s and Lindsey’s will start distributing meals next week. Each restaurant is working with Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance to connect with non-profits.