John Hernandez of Casa Masa. Photo courtesy of Matt Balke

Chef Matt Balke plans to open a new restaurant in the old Bolsa space.

Balke served as head chef at Bolsa for the past few years, and when that restaurant closed because of financial strain, he and partner Corey McCombs decided to make a go of it themselves.

That would’ve been huge news two weeks ago.

But today, the story is this: Balke and McCombs raised $5,000 for out-of-work restaurant employees with John Hernandez of Oak Cliff-based Casa Masa tamales.

They turned the parking lot into a drive-through where customers could pickup a dozen tamales for $25. An additional $25 tip came with a free bottle of wine.

Twelve people worked in shifts of four to roll more than 150 dozen tamales, about 1,800.

“I don’t have the words to express what it means to me to be able to employ a few people and do my part to help out my service industry family,” says McCombs, a general manager who has worked at Smoke, Oddfellows and Revelers Hall.

As a surprise for their drive-through customers, McCombs brought the Revelers Hall house band to play in the parking lot, and they accepted tips for them via Venmo.

“They don’t have any income right now either,” McCombs says of the musicians. “They can’t collect unemployment.”

She says they haven’t decided whether do another tamales fundraiser, but if you see cars lined up at Bolsa, go ahead and get yours.