How to Help Local Restaurants Weather this Pandemic, and Have a Great Meal

One thing we residents of Northern Virginia can all agree on — our restaurants rock! Many of us miss gathering together, sharing conversation, and taking photos of artfully-plated dishes. But, of course, staying at home supports our fellow citizens, helping our most vulnerable stay safe and limiting community spread of COVID-19. 

Have you been thinking about ways to support the hardworking employees and owners of our local restaurants? Looking for a way to give back while making this new confined lifestyle a little less lonely? Fairfax County has implemented a free and innovative technology called “The Take Out Trail” app that connects residents with more than 50 merchants, including local restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and wineries, that offer food and beverage delivery and pick-up. 

Participating businesses in Fairfax County include BRX American Bistro, Amphora Restaurant, Caboose Commons, Fair Winds Brewing Co., Iron Chef House, Dolce Vita Italian Restaurant, Meaza Restaurant, Maggie McFly’s and The Winery at Bull Run, among many others.

Visit Fairfax, the county’s destination marketing organization, worked with digital agency Streetsense and Bandwangon to build and launch the passport in a matter of days.

“During these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community to support our local small businesses,” said Barry H. Biggar, president and CEO of Visit Fairfax. “Our hope is that the mobile passport will help residents connect with the merchants they know and love and also inspire them to explore the other world-class restaurants, breweries and wineries in our County.”

You can sign up for The Take Out Trail mobile passport by providing a name, email address and mobile phone number. A link is then sent to the mobile phone, which opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen. Merchant listings include hours of operation, phone number, website, map and notice of how orders can be obtained, either pick-up or home delivery. In addition, many merchants are offering discounts and coupons, such as 20% off orders or 50% off of wine.

As Best Buns Bakery & Café expands into new neighborhoods, they’ve launched the GAR app to facilitate curbside delivery and carry out. Great American Restaurants (GAR) recently established a heralded program called Community Kitchen, that prepares and distributes food to local hospital workers, first responders and others on the front line. Community Kitchen also distributes meals to communities suffering from food insecurity. The company welcomes donations to further their with an array of Contribution Levels. Give $10 for each donated meal, or $100 to donate a meal bundle for 10 people, and so on. This program is a very effective way to support people sacrificing for others at this difficult time. 

In Prince William County, favorite restaurants, vineyards, breweries and bakeries have expanded their take out options and many offer curbside, contactless deliveries and gift cards to be used once businesses open up again. Grind N Crepe in Occoquan is offering 20% off all carry-out orders, as is Madigan’s Waterfront, which includes beer and wine curbside service. Out of the Blue in Gainesville has a wide array of carry-out seafood feasts guaranteed to make family night much more festive. The menus include a six-pack of beer, and bottles of wine. The Spot on Mill has taken a step beyond, meeting the needs of children facing food insecurity, by providing free kid lunches. Celebrating a birthday while quarantining? Contact Soul Cakes by Tonya to brighten up that person’s special day. Find more information at VisitPWC.com

This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, but we can help ease the burdens on our local businesses by ordering food and beverages through these expanded opportunities. 

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