When you drive by two of your town's most established restaurants and find them both boarded up, it feels like a call-to-action. When one of those restaurants is the 2019 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for best hospitality and is again nominated in 2020 for the JBFA's most outstanding restaurant, that call-to-action becomes more shocking.
Frasca Food & Wine and their sister restaurant Pizzeria Locale are both located here in my home of Boulder, Colorado, and as of a few days ago, both are boarded up.
Things hit home when they're close to home.
The reality, though, is this is happening close to everyone's home. The COVID-19 outbreak has presented unprecedented challenges to our industry, an industry that employs more than 11 million people and contributes more than $1 trillion to the national economy. To say restaurants are important is an understatement. Why, then, are they so underrepresented as stimulus funds are handed out as part of the CARES Act?
So what can we do?
It's a great question. We can buy takeout, gift cards, and/or participate in virtual events hosted by our favorite establishments. We can call our local congressmen and women. And we can also support the organizations trying to provide a voice for restaurants in Washington and in state capitals across the country.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed, in part, with help from the partners here in Boulder at Frasca Food & Wine. Many others contributed to the launch of this recent organization, as well. And what we can all do to help them, from JBFA-winning restaurants to our local Mexican cantina, is support them in their efforts.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition is asking Congress to establish an Independent Restaurant Stabilization fund of at least $120 billion to ensure the restaurants we love, the restaurants that employ so many people in our communities, and the restaurants where we've made so many great memories, will exist in the future.
If you can take a few minutes to sign the petition they created, it would be of great benefit to independent restaurants across the country.