It's essential to support your favorite bars and restaurants during this time.

By Stacey Leasca
March 17, 2020
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Well. Here we are.

In a matter of days, life has changed. Our work has changed, our routines have changed, and everything we knew to be true is different. These are difficult times, no doubt. But, it’s also a time when we need to support each other in any way we can. And that includes supporting our favorite neighborhood restaurants and bars too.

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Restaurants are some of the hardest hit as the coronavirus spreads around the world. Owners and chefs have been forced to shutter their doors and send employees home due to both mandates and ethics. We have to stop the spread of the virus, period, which means no more gathering in crowds, and social distancing from one another away from our favorite haunts.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t support your favorite foodie destinations and help them get through this crisis. Here are a few ways you can indeed still support restaurants, eat delicious meals, and get through this together.

Purchase gift cards to your favorite shops

Chefs and owners all over the world are hoping you’ll come back soon. And when you do, you should be ready with ample gift cards to pay for your grub.

“Business slowing down is inevitable when people are keeping their health as a top priority, but a thoughtful way to support your favorite local businesses is to purchase gift certificates to use at a later date,”  Chef Jose Icardi, executive chef of Diez y Seis in Miami, shared with Travel + Leisure. “This is a great help for a time of need when restaurants aren’t bringing in the revenue they normally are, and gift certificates always make for a great present or future date night you had to reschedule.”

Order delivery or take-out

According to Will Wyatt, an owner of Pretty Ricky's and Mister Paradise in New York City, patrons can still support restaurants by continuing to ordering delivery or takeout wherever possible,

“We have put together a rather large delivery/takeout menu that will be rolled out on online ordering platforms as soon as possible,” Wyatt said. “The news that our state liquor authority is allowing the delivery of alcohol during this crisis is a game-changer.”

He noted, in addition to offering the bulk of their regular food menu, both restaurants will be offering beers and wine bottles at a very steep discount. The restaurants are even offering “large-format cocktails with directions for serving, and a bottle-service style list of simple make your own drink kits.” For example, they’ll deliver you an Aperol spritz kit that comes with a bottle of Aperol, a bottle of cremant de bourgogne, two bottles of club soda, and fresh orange wheels.

Tip. A lot.

Delivery drivers are on the front lines of this new world, which means it’s time to tip them hardily for their efforts.

Harold’s is now on Seamless, Postmates, and Uber Eats,” Gary Wallach, the food and beverage director of the NYC restaurant, explained. “We're working to make sure the neighborhood knows we're there for them if they need to spice up their in-home meals, and also if they know of any elders or disabled members of the community who are homebound without access to groceries, we will work to provide them with meals.”

This is no small task and these drivers are putting themselves at risk. Give them the tip they deserve for this task.

Donate where you can

As Ryan Burke, the owner of The Rum House pointed out, there are places to give if you’ve got a few extra dollars to spare.

“Donate money, lots of it, to organizations that are setting up funds for hospitality staff,” he said. “USBG and RWCF both come to mind right away.”

For those not in the know, USBG is the United States Bartender Guild, which helps support your favorite bartenders who listen to all your troubles and pour your favorite drink just when you need it. Now, it’s time to return the favor. The same goes for the RWCF, or Restaurant Workers Community Foundation.

Again, these people serve us food. They also often have no paid sick leave, cannot file unemployment, and many are not salaried. Step up, even with a few dollars, if your budget allows.

Stay positive

However, there are places like Valerie, which is doing its part to ensure the welfare of its staff but needs your assistance, too. Even if it’s just a bit of goodwill and cheer.

“This is affecting the whole world economically,” Sean Hayden, owner, of Valerie, said. “We are just going to do all we can for our employees with filing for unemployment, providing sick and vacation pay.”

“The most important thing for everyone right now including patrons and workers is to stay positive and look forward to things going back to normal as soon as possible,” he added. “Everyone has their own story to tell. We’re just looking forward to when this all blows over and we can reopen and provide the service and hospitality we strive for at Valerie.”

They, like the rest of the world, “are taking things one day at a time.”