Celebrations, Simpsonville, Sports

Local restaurant owner provides pre-game meals at a discount for Hillcrest Football team

Although 2020 has been an unpredictable and trying year for everyone, the local school football teams have a story that will inspire you. Mr. Warner Bouzek, who owns and operates King Tut Grill of Simpsonville, has helped them out in a big way.

Senior Lineman Gerald Bryant enjoying pre-game meal

During the 2019 football season, his restaurant occasionally provided pre-game meals at a discounted price for Hillcrest football players. Unlike the typical fare of pizza and other fast-food venues, Mr. Bouzek fed the teams whole meals at a discounted price. Money collected from players during the spring and Booster Club activities funded these meals. That was 2019. When 2020 rolled along, the schools closed during spring, and athletic activities came to a grinding halt.

Head Coach Anthony Frate enjoying pre-game meal

As a result, the 2020 fall football season opened with a big problem—hungry players before football games but no money to buy meals. Hillcrest’s Head Coach Anthony Frate says that “COVID-19 has restricted many of our fundraising opportunities for our program.” The Booster Club hesitated to ask parents for contributions because of the difficult economic times and the realization that some may have lost jobs. They approached Mr. Bouzek, asking what he could provide given the limited funding they could offer.

In answer, Mr. Bouzek gave them a steep 70% discount. For a low price, he has provided full meals three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for the four football teams in the Hillcrest program—D-Team (7th and 8th graders), C-Team (9th Graders), Junior Varsity, and Varsity Teams. This involved some 200-300 meals per week throughout the football season!

His menu items for these meals include grilled chicken or hamburger steak, a large baked potato, green beans, salad, and dinner rolls. In reference to these meals, Hillcrest’s Head Coach Anthony Frate shares, “Nutrition is such an important part towards achieving our Player Safety and Performance goals as a program. We have over 150 players, coaches, and support staff in our program and Warner has fed all of us many times over to make sure our team has the proper nutrition on game days.”

Warner Bouzek

Because of the COVID-19 situation, nothing could be served buffet-style. Everything the players received was wrapped individually and pre-packaged including condiments, butter, and salad dressings. Through his efforts, Mr. Bouzek contributed several thousand dollars since what he charged was less than the cost of food preparation and did not cover labor costs.

Mr. Bouzek also shared his culinary skills with Mauldin High School to provide both a free and a discounted meal to their players since they experienced a similar predicament.

Mr. Bouzek and his staff at King Tut are uniquely qualified to prepare and provide these incredibly special meals. They come from a catering background with years of experience in the food delivery field. His restaurant offers an extensive online and in-person menu as well as catering and delivery services. Last year, King Tut Grill served 1700 meals in 3 hours for one company’s employee appreciation day! He even has a mobile kitchen that can be set up wherever needed.

Mr. Bouzek has been taken aback by parents dropping by his establishment to say, “Thanks.” A church has quietly helped as well. Hillcrest’s Head Coach Anthony Frate says it all though. “I can’t express enough my sincere gratitude to Warner and his staff for preparing and serving our football team pre-game meals! It’s very expensive to feed this volume of players and support staff on game days, so we greatly appreciate Warner for working together with us this season!” The community thanks Mr. Bouzek for rising to the occasion with creativity, generosity, and hard work. He did what he could and has inspired us all to do the same!■

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