by Paul Wolf
We see it all across the country: as COVID cases spike – and worries do, too – municipalities and states are making hard choices. Right or wrong, they are looking to protect their populations.
But it’s the little guy who catches the brunt of the top-down, “one-size-fits-all” solution, the small retailer – and the restaurants.
You’ve seen the meme floating around (we’ve even shared it on our Facebook page) about how bad restaurants are hurting right now and how you should support your local eateries.
Yep, now is the time.
Bailouts, loans and other measures only go so far. Some places are hanging on by a thread (and that’s not really hyperbole).
We’ve seen restauranteur Jeff Good on CNN and countless other owners, chefs and general managers pleading online. They’re asking Congress for help – and they’re asking you not to forget they exist.
In the spirit of the season, and, hey – who doesn’t love the convenience of this – buy gift cards! You can put cash in our restaurants’ pockets today, and someone you care about can enjoy the gift of a good meal later.
I’ve learned to love takeout.
I’ll be honest: I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of not eating on-site for a while there. But, when that in-person experience wasn’t an option, I was getting my burger/pizza/Chinese/”fill in your favorite food here” fix however I could. And, we’ve just stuck with it.
It’s now a Friday night thing to order up a sack or two of our favorites and go ahead and get the Netflix or Amazon Prime going early. During the week, the idea of takeout for lunch, too, has become a great excuse to mask up and get out for a minute.
I’ve seen so many of our restaurants adapt and then adapt again. Online ordering is the norm for many and touchless payments are more common, too. Family meal packs, partnering with local grocers to sell their products… hell, one restaurant group became a grocery store for a couple of months. Let no one tell you that our restaurant community doesn’t understand resiliency.
They’re also the very first to pitch in. That gift card you won at your kid’s school raffle: you think the PTA BOUGHT that card? Donated. Almost without fail, you ask a restauranteur to give and they do. Many held fundraisers and food drives to help first responders back in the spring and summer, matching donations from the public and beyond, all the while wondering how they would keep their lights on.
Can you imagine a Jackson where Crazy Cat or Sal & Mookie’s, Stamps, Hal & Mal’s, The Pig & Pint, Aplos, Godfrey’s or Campbell’s Bakery doesn’t exist? I can’t. And no, I’m not saying these folks are closing. But just imagine a world without them if they did.
Restaurants are vital to our community for so many reasons. And when life returns to the “new normal,” they’ll be where you celebrate that promotion, gather with family for a reunion, take a first date or unwind with friends after a long week.
For now, whether you feel comfortable dining in-house or you prefer a call-in order with curbside pickup, the time is right to show local restaurants what they mean to you.
See a list of where to eat today
Paul Wolf is the editor of jxn.ms.