Four weeks ago, I roamed Napa Valley vineyards freely.
Three weeks ago, I happily dined out on the town at a bustling new Miami restaurant: not one empty seat.
Two weeks ago, I dined out for the last time this month. The dining room came to an abrupt halt when one person sneezed. The few parties in attendance — not knowing how to react — paused and then laughed awkwardly.
Last week, I picked up dinner at that same new and hot Miami restaurant from four weeks ago. Curbside. While wearing gloves and wiping down my credit card. And ate it at home.
Today. Well, I don’t even know what day it is yet. Do you? Last night I saw videos of Brickell high-rise residents singing, banging pots from their balconies, and keeping the Miami spirit alive. Things have changed. I don’t care to discuss the why on this post — we already know. All Miami restaurants have been ordered shut, and a high number of them now reinvented themselves in ways unthinkable just weeks ago. They aren’t going down without a fight, and I’m urging everyone to please help support their efforts.
Here are some of my tips as March comes to a close:
Consider donating to one of these local initiatives.
MIAMI RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE RELIEF FUND The goal is to provide $250 grants to as many qualifying grantees as possible with 100% of donations (less GoFundMe standard fees) going directly to those affected.
SOBEWFF HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY RELIEF FUND Grants will be provided to independently owned and operated restaurants and bars that have had to temporarily cease operations, lay off employees, or whose businesses have been severely diminished due to locally mandated closure orders.
ORDER Food (Delivery or Pickup)
Whenever possible, bypass third parties (Uber, Postmates, DoorDash, etc.) and order directly from the restaurant. This way, the profit benefits the restaurant directly. Also, tip as generously as you can.
The following websites have been doing a great job updating changes in the available ordering options. Check them out!
PURCHASE GIFT CARDS
The purchase of gift cards can significantly help the restaurants now, but can backfire if everyone uses them the second they reopen. Please consider spacing out the use of any gift cards purchased to allow ample time for a business to stabilize.
Chef Michael Beltran of the Ariete Hospitality Group and Nicolas Jimenez of DadeMag.com teamed up a while back to bring us Pan Con Podcast, a place to discuss all things about Miami dining (and beyond). The last few episodes have focused on intimately showing a behind the scenes look at the current struggles of our culinary scene amidst the COVID-19 fiasco . Listen and share!
These last suggestions aren’t Miami-related, but I wanted to share some final food and wine gems to watch while we wait out this quarantine at home (cońo, quédate en tu casa). Enjoy!
I have no doubt our city will see better days again. Until then, let’s all do our best to support these businesses as much as we can, one order at a time — pots y pans optional.