One day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post of StickEm’s kebabs. Normally I would not have done a double take as I hit the “like” button, but I noticed that it was on The Bar-B-Q Shop’s Instagram page.
I thought to myself, “That was nice of them to promote their neighbor.”
Then a few days later, I saw Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne's post about eating at Rizzo’s. The post said, “Mask Up Memphis and let’s dine local. Our Memphis restaurant community could really use some love — whether curbside or dine in.”
Then I saw Ryan Trimm of Sweet Grass post about Acre. And then Kelly English of Restaurant Iris post about Bari. Then The Bar-B-Q Shop posted again about another three restaurants, this time Tamboli’s Pasta & Pizza, Alcenia's and K3 Studio Cafe. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more similar posts from chefs and restaurateurs across Memphis; these are just the ones I saw.
In a time when restaurants in Memphis are struggling due to COVID-19, these restaurant owners took the time to think about their neighbors and friends. Instead of urging people to come to their business, they selflessly said, “Go support my friend.”
These tiny acts of kindness speak volumes about the restaurant community in Memphis. I have always known Memphis had a unique restaurant community. These simple actions show that Memphis is a standout not just for good eats, but also for the people behind the great food.
Let’s make sure they survive this pandemic. We can all help make a difference.
Next time you eat out or pick up food to go, take a snapshot and make a post on social media. Your post could help your favorite restaurant even if it inspires just one friend to dine there. That one customer’s bill could help them make their rent or meet payroll. Every customer counts right now in this year where most restaurants just want to survive.
Since The Bar-B-Q Shop’s was the first post of this kind I saw, I gave owner Eric Vernon a call. He said he started doing these posts long before COVID-19.
“I feel like I have been blessed to do well. This is my way of giving back — helping to promote someone else who is working just as hard as we are,” Vernon said. “When all this is over I just want us all to still be in business.”
So, let’s all take a cue from these restaurateurs: #MaskUpMemphis and let’s #DineLocalMemphis, taking pictures of all the good eats we enjoy and posting them to help #SaveOurRestaurants. Hashtags optional!