Businesses in the Central West End are teaming up to provide meals to unhoused individuals and healthcare workers, all while encouraging more neighborhood residents to support their favorite restaurants.
The Central West End Business Community Improvement District is accepting donations online that will give meals to folks both at the City Hope STL shelter and those on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Meals are able to be distributed at about $15 a pop. Participating restaurants include Cocina Latina, Dressel’s Public House, Drunken Fish, El Burro Loco, Evangeline’s Bistro, MaryAnn’s Tea Room, Medina Mediterranean Grill, Pi Pizzeria, The Preston, Salt + Smoke, Straub’s and Thai202
"It's been great to see it come together, knowing that we're making a difference in our businesses and in our community," says Kate Haher, executive director of NCID.
While the recipients of these meals are obviously benefiting, the restaurants that prepare the meals are benefiting from extra business at a time when they are restricted to carryout and delivery orders, and many are struggling financially.
"It means being able to keep on our employees," says Ken Fowler, general manager of Mary Ann's Tea Room. The restaurant has been preparing meals, and Fowler himself has been helping with the delivery of meals. "For us, it's supporting the people that have supported us through all the years. We're a team. We're a family. And we're all supporting each other through this, and this is a great way to do it."
Orders to restaurants are on a rotating basis so that all involved benefit from the program.
If you want to get yourself a meal from a restaurant in the Central West End while you're at it, be sure to keep your receipts; the NCID is offering a special promotion through May 15.
For every $100 a customer spends at restaurants in the Central West End, they’ll receive $20 in gift certificates; for every $200, they'll receive $50. Customers must bring their receipts to the NCID business office when the stay-at-home order is lifted to receive them, while supplies last.