Bringing Community Fridges Filled With Food to Dallas

Restaurateur Mark Bucher’s Medium Rare is known for its steak frites and mouthwatering secret sauce. His accompanying Feed the Fridge nonprofit aims to make a bigger impact.

By Nataly Keomoungkhoun | March 25, 2024|3:06 pm

D Magazine

The steak and frites dish at Medium Rare has seared steak, crisp fries, and a secret mustard and cracked pepper sauce. Courtesy of Medium Rare

Medium Rare, a D.C.-based steak frites restaurant, is opening a new location in Dallas’ Lower Greenville neighborhood this summer. Co-owner Mark Bucher says the lease was signed earlier this month, and construction at the new spot at 5631 Alta Ave. will begin in April. (The location was formerly Standard Service.)

Medium Rare is known for its short-but-sweet brunch, dinner, drinks, and dessert menus, with a steak frites dish as the star item. The concept is inspired by the French restaurant Le Relais de L’Entrecote, a place that only serves steak frites and offers seconds. Medium Rare is the same in that, with every order of seared coulotte steak topped with secret sauce and crispy fries, guests are offered seconds of all three at no extra cost.

The restaurant is also known for its charitable work, especially Bucher’s accompanying nonprofit Feed the Fridge. The organization places fridges throughout the community filled with free meals made by local restaurants as a way to address food insecurity. Bucher founded Feed the Fridge during the pandemic when hunger reached new heights.

The patio of a Medium Rare location.Courtesy of Medium Rare

“Feed the Fridge is more than just a program to get meals to those who are hungry,” Bucher says. “When it first started, that’s all it was. We were gonna put refrigerators where people needed to get food because there were no school lunches during COVID. Then it changed. We realized hunger isn’t getting any better.”

Feed the Fridge has more than 29 fridges throughout Maryland and the D.C. area at local schools, community centers, and youth centers. The nonprofit’s goal is to serve one million meals—more than 700,000 have already been distributed in just over two years.

The nonprofit partners with local restaurants to keep the fridges full. All donations to Feed the Fridge go directly to purchasing meals from participating restaurants. The meals vary, but they will usually include one-third each of protein, produce, and carbs. The fridges will be stocked every day.

Bucher wants to place fridges in cities Medium Rare has a presence. That means Dallas is next.

“When we bring Medium Rare to a city, our promise is to bring Feed the Fridge with us,” he says. “What we will look to do in Dallas is find partners where we can put fridges, where people that need access to meals can get them without signing up, without showing any ID, they can pull up in any car and walk in and grab a meal. Nobody cares. If you’re hungry, you deserve a great meal.”

Restaurants are contracted to make meals, and Feed the Fridge picks up the orders and fills the fridges. Those restaurants and businesses will never be asked to donate any meals, according to Bucher.

Fridges could be placed at parks and rec centers, public schools, churches, youth centers, senior living facilities, and locations with surrounding communities that need meal security. Bucher is still scoping out where the first Dallas fridge will go, and it’ll likely arrive within 30 days of Medium Rare’s Lower Greenville opening. He’s also still researching local businesses and restaurants to put together the meals.

“Wherever the big need is is where we’ll put them,” he says. “And wherever there’s a willing recipient.”

Medium Rare’s Dallas location will have the same short menu as the other locations, because the goal is to “do one thing, and do it exceptionally well.” The steak frites, bread, and salad dinner—plus seconds—is under 30 bucks. The vegetarian option is a grilled portobello mushroom with fire-roasted red pepper sauce. (Bucher’s wife is vegan-vegetarian.)

The other menus are just as simple: bottomless brunch with just five menu items and a menu of five desserts. The drink menu has four seasonal cocktails, four reds, four whites, and four beers.

The steaks—ribeye caps—are cooked to the customer’s liking upon ordering. Medium rare might be the obvious choice, but Bucher says otherwise.

“Our steak I think is best medium—this cut is so rich, I think it needs a little more time on the grill,” he says. Yes, he knows that goes against the restaurant’s name. “All my servers think it’s hysterical.”

Medium Rare is slated to open this summer at 5631 Alta Ave.

Get the SideDish Newsletter

Dallas’ hottest dining news, recipes, and reviews served up fresh to your inbox each week.


Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

View Profile

Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…