We all have our favourite restaurants. Visiting them feels like getting together with a good friend. And right now, our friends are facing hard times. So what do we do when we see a friend in need? We help, of course, in any way we can. Here are some ways to support our incredible restaurants to make it through the pandemic, no matter where you are on your journey through it.
- Let’s get the obvious out of the way first — Let them cook for you! If you’re comfortable with it, make some reservations and go sit down at your favourite table. Our cities’ restaurants have made considerable strides in safety and cleaning practices, and now it’s up to us as customers to do our part by, first, ensuring that we feel well enough to go out, keeping our hands clean, and maintaining a proper distance from others the entire time we’re in their establishment. If you’re not ready to go out yet, most restaurants have expanded their take-out service so you can enjoy your fave dishes at home.
But the menu isn’t the only place to show your support. Here’s some ways you may not have thought about when you think about helping a restaurant keep its doors open.
2. Gift certificates mean money in the till right now when restaurants need it. You can always use it later for when you’re ready to go back. You could gift it to a friend, or even better, someone you know working on the frontlines who more than deserves a break.
3. Wear your support on your sleeve! Many restaurants have t-shirts, hats and other merch you can purchase in store or on-line. Just like your favourite band tees in high school, proudly show off your good taste to everyone. It has the added bonus of some free advertising for the restaurant.
4. See if your favourite kitchen has published any cookbooks. Try your hand at some of their best dishes, and get a unique backstage peek behind the pass-through. You can pick up Cin Cin chef Andrew Richardson’s book on their website here.
Some thoughtful chefs have even bottled up their special sauces, jams and condiments so that even though you may not discover that secret ingredient, you can still dress up your own dishes like a pro. The team at Savio Volpe has made some of their recipes and ingredients available through their sister store Caffe La Tana and online. Or order up a Family Taco Kit for a slew of Tacomio’s signature toppings.
5. Think big picture and donate to a relief fund that supports restaurants and their workers. Since the pandemic began shutting doors, many funds have sprung up online with the direct goal of providing financial assistance to industry workers who are suffering from income loss. The Vancouver Food & Beverage Community Fund is one such program and can be donated to here.
Finally, if none of this applies to your favourite local joint — and it may not to mom-n-pop establishments that need help most — you can always go old school and pick up the phone and ask, What can I do to help? Even if a call just serves to let them know you’re thinking of them and wish them well, it can go a long way to keeping the stove warm.