#foodandbeverage

How To Support Local Restaurants, Bars, & Small Businesses During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Where to order from in NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA, and more.

The hospitality industry is the backbone of travel—from innovative restaurants that showcase the gastronomic spirit of a city, to cocktail bars and well-designed artisan coffee cafés. It's these very establishments that fuel our adventures—literally, of course, but also figuratively in the sense that they give us new perspectives on cities and culture.

And while the travel industry is no doubt hurting right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitality is hurting even more. That's why we put together this guide with resources on how to support restaurants, bars, and small businesses.

New York City

New York City

The Journy Team's Top Picks:

  • Tokyo Record Bar + Niche Niche
    Type: Restaurant / Japanese
    Offering: $20/person bento boxes (menu posted daily on Instagram), along with wine, Champagne, and sake from their stellar list.
    Why we love it: They offer awesome, homey dinners and incredibly affordable Champagnes. Owner Ariel Arce curates a mean dinner party, and her spaces encourage strangers to get to know each other—it's a place we definitely want to be around post-pandemic!
    How to order: Resy
  • ATOBOY
    Type: Restaurant / Korean
    Offering: Takeout boxes with one item from the menu, along with rice and kimchi. Wine, beer, and soju are also available!
    Why we love it: The modern, surprising Korean food, with banchan (small side dishes, such as pickles and other veggies) as the starting point, never disappoints.
    How to order: Resy or Caviar
  • La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
    Type: Wine Bar
    Offering: A selection of snacks (e.g., salt-and-vinegar pistachios and marinated olives) and multi-packs of wine.
    Why we love it: This unpretentious wine bar in Soho is offering some awesome deals on curated multi-packs. The editions are limited, so snag 'em while you can.
    How to order: compagnienyc.com (there's also a gofundme "tip jar" for their hourly workers!)
  • Shoji at 69 Leonard Street
    Type: Restaurant / Japanese
    Offering: A limited delivery of dinner sets, including tekka don ($50) and sushi sets ($80 - $150).
    Why we love it: Although some are warning not to get cold food, the level of hygiene here is impeccable. The team is all wearing masks and gloves—plus the chef's three-Michelin star training at Kikunoi in Kyoto means he's meticulous.  
    How to order: Call 212-404-4600
  • Anton's
    Type: Restaurant / Old-school European  
    Offering: A $1 menu (so you can shower the kitchen team with tips) of just about everything—bar bites, salads, fish, meat, pasta, and desserts.  
    Why we love it: Nick Anderer, former head chef Marta and Maialino, knows his Roman cuisine like few others do.
    How to order: Call 212-924-0818
  • Pinch Chinese
    Type: Restaurant / Chinese
    Offering: Its entire dinner menu—from Peking duck to soup dumplings. They're also selling gift cards, with 30% of the proceeds going directly to relief efforts for hospitality workers.
    Why we love it: Pinch makes what are are arguably some of the best, proper Din Tai Fung soup dumplings in the city—tied only with those at Nom Wah Tea Parlor (below).
    How to order: Call 212-328-7880, email [email protected], or order via Seamless.
  • Nom Wah Tea Parlor
    Type: Restaurant / Chinese
    Offering: Takeout or delivery of its entire menu of dim sum specialties.
    Why we love it: This is New York's original dim sum parlor that's still family-owned to this day.
    How to order: Caviar or GrubHub
  • Fish Cheeks
    Type: Restaurant / Thai
    Offering: The majority of its menu, from crab curry to somtum corn salad.
    Why we love it: When it comes to Thai cuisine, Fish Cheeks is as authentic as it gets—which means there's no pad Thai to be found on the menu (that's a good thing).
    How to order: Caviar
  • Dante
    Type: Restaurant / Italian
    Offering: The majority of its menu, including burrata, flatbreads, and pasta.
    Why we love it: You can get negronis to go...NEED WE SAY MORE?
    How to order: Upserve
  • Mala Project
    Type: Restaurant / Chinese
    Offering: A selection of tofu, pork, and beef dishes—in addition to their signature sauces (Five Spice Tofu, Soy Park, Spicy Beef, or Spicy Mushroom), which can be used to jazz up noodles, rice, eggs, stir-fried veggies, and more.
    Why we love it: Mala Project dishes out incredibly delicious (and SPICY) dry pots, which are sautéed dishes with a mix of ingredients of your choosing.
    How to order: Malatome
  • Charlie Bird / Parcelle
    Type: Restaurant / Italian-American
    Offering: A "Shameless Plug" six-pack of wines through their retail partner, Parcelle.  
    Why we love it: All proceeds from their wine sales are dedicated to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which was founded to save the local restaurants affected by COVID-19.
    How to order: parcellewine.com
  • Raku Soho
    Type: Restaurant / Japanese
    Offering: Small plates, udon soups, and donburi rice bowls
    Why we love it: Their homey udon noodles travel incredibly well (noodles are packed separately from soup).
    How to order: rakunyc.com
  • Gertie
    Type: Restaurant / American
    Offering: Choose from a whole rotisserie chicken (served with mustard + hot sauce) with lemon tahini veggies and schmaltzy rice, or sweet & sour brisket with egg noodles and a marinated veggie salad.
    Why we love it:
    Inspired by LA's all-day cafés like Gjelina and Squirl, Gertie was the only New York restaurant to be included in Thrllist's list of the 2019 best new restaurants.
    How to order:
    Resy
  • Four Horsemen
    Type: Wine Bar & Restaurant / American
    Offering: Nightly dinner specials, as well as a wide selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.
    Why we love it: This part-wine bar, part-restaurant has an excellent, natural-leaning wine list. But make sure you don't sleep on the food! They just earned a Michelin star, and chef Nick Curtis changes the menu frequently to fully embrace new American cuisine in all its cross-cultural, melting pot goodness.
    How to order: nextdoorspacebk.com
  • Torien
    Type: Restaurant / Japanese
    Offering: Soboro don (minced chicken over rice) for $20 (normal omakase will run you $150), as well as sake.
    Why we love it: The poultry-focused omakase spot is helmed by the main apprentice from Tokyo's impossible-to-get-into Torishiki.
    How to order: Call 646-669-9946
  • Bien Cuit + Joe Coffee Company
    Type: Bakery / Coffee
    Offering: Artisan bread, pastries, cookies, and New York roast coffee
    Why we love it: A 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Outstanding Baker, Zachary Golper knows what he's doing when it comes to baguettes—and pretty much any type of loaf or viennoiserie. Don't miss this one.
    How to order: Borough Provisions

Boston

Boston

The Journy Team's Top Picks:

  • Baraka
    Type: Restaurant / Tunisian
    Offering: A selection of its menu, including couscous and lamb tajine.
    Why we love it: Baraka has been a Cambridge staple for over 20 years. And once you snag a taste of their French/North African cuisine (think Tunisian lamb merguez, kafta couscous, and "Tunisian Delighs" desserts), you'll understand why.
    How to order: Call 617-868-3951
  • La Morra
    Type: Restaurant / Italian
    Offering: Their entire menu is available, from antipasti (we love the ribollita) to pastas, meat, fish, and sweets. There's even a kids menu!
    Why we love it: Husband and wife chef-owners Josh and Jen Ziskin have dreamt up an inventive Northern Italian menu inspired by their year spent working in the Piedmont region of Italy (where Josh cooked at the highly-regarded Ristorante Belvedere). The name, La Morra, itself is a tribute to the picturesque hilltop town in the Barolo region that they once called home.
    How to order: toasttab.com for curbside pickup and GrubHub for delivery

Chicago

Chicago

The Journy Team's Top Picks:

  • Frontera Grill
    Type: Restaurant / Mexican
    Offering: A limited selection of appetizers, entrées, and tacos, including Oaxacan Carne Asada, Smoked Chicken Taquitos with Guacamole, and Al Carbon-Style Tacos.
    Why we love it: Let's just say chef Rick Bayless knows his stuff when it comes to creative Mexican fare. You can't go wrong.
    How to order: Xoco or Chow for takeout, Caviar for delivery, or DoorDash for both
  • Pisolino
    Type: Restaurant / Italian
    Offering: A selection of antipasti, pizzas, pastas, and desserts
    Why we love it: It's hearty, it's homey, and it'll leave you with that satisfied, carb-filled feeling that we could all use a little more of these days.
    How to order: UberEats or Postmates

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

The Journy Team's Top Picks:

  • Dialogue
    Type: Restaurant / American
    Offering: Three-course dinners (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) for $35 each.
    Why we love it: James Beard award-wining chef Dave Beran (formerly of Chicago's Alinea and Next) curates a menu inspired by the abundance of seasonal ingredients found in Southern California.
    How to order: Toasttab
  • Night + Market
    Type: Restaurant / Thai
    Offering: Snacks, spicy salads, curries, fish, noodles, and more
    Why we love it: Night + Market dishes out some of the best Northern Thai street food in the city at the hands of chef-owner Kris Yenbamroong.
    How to order: Caviar
  • Kismet
    Type: Restaurant / Mediterranean-Middle Eastern
    Offering: Rotisserie chicken, with all the sides, dips, and sauces that you'd want
    Why we love it: This female-led restaurant boasts two incredible chefs at the helm: Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson (also of Madcapre).
    How to order: Call 323-400-3700 or order online via Caviar
  • Guerrilla Tacos
    Type: Restaurant / Mexican
    Offering: A selection of five tacos and three burritos, along with salsas, quesos, and a rice/beans side.
    Why we love it: Guerrilla is, without a doubt, one of LA's best taco spots and the only brick-and-mortar restaurant that can compete with the city's super authentic taco trucks.  
    How to order: Call 213-375-3300 or order online via Caviar
  • Everson Royce Bar
    Type: Cocktail Bar & Restaurant / Small Bites  
    Offering: Wine, spirits, and bar bites (e.g. burgers and baos)
    Why we love it: This is an awesome, underrated cocktail/hangout spot that occasionally hosts collaborations with the likes of Ben Fiddich in Tokyo (probably our favorite cocktail bar of all time).
    How to order: Call 323-662-9024 or order online via Postmates
  • Felix
    Type: Restaurant / Italian
    Offering: Pizza, meatballs, focaccia, sugos, ragus, pasta kits, salad kits, and wine.
    Why we love it: Felix is probably the only restaurant we'd fly from NY to wait in line at 5PM for.
    How to order: felixla.com

Additional City Guides (Resy):

Additional Resources

Looking for more ways to support the hospitality industry? Here's a list of non-profits that are accepting donations towards the cause—in addition to directions for how to reach out to your senator/governor in response to the industry worker assistance package.

  • The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund  
    "The purpose of the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund (the “Fund”) is to provide critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) national disaster, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses and keep from going out of business. Our goal is to do our part along with federal, state, and local governments to provide for workers, sustain local business, reduce the financial impact on communities, and otherwise mitigate the severe economic consequences of this global pandemic."
  • World Central Kitchen (The Infatuation x Zagat)
    "Founded by José Andrés in 2010, World Central Kitchen is a non-profit organization that helps provide meals to individuals in need in the wake of disasters. Their COVID-19-focused relief effort, #ChefsForAmerica, is addressing this crisis with a three-pronged approach: mapping feeding efforts to understand where gaps in aid exist while showing people where they can find assistance for themselves, delivering meals to those in need, and starting community kitchens where families can get access to affordable or free meals."
  • Emergency fund for US Sommeliers
    It takes years of study to become a professional sommelier. And yet — almost overnight — thousands of sommeliers across the country have lost 100% of their income, with no guarantee jobs will be available if and when the restaurant industry recovers.
    Did you know: Many sommeliers work in hourly, tipped or commission-based positions and often make less than the servers at the restaurant.
    When we do emerge from these trying and unprecedented times, restaurants will have to prioritize when it comes to rehiring staff. That means servers, bussers, chefs and dishwashers will be the first to return to employment. But what about sommeliers?
  • How to advocate on behalf of restaurant workers
    As the Federal Government works on an assistance package for industry workers, now's the time to reach out to your representative and/or Senator to advocate for the cause. Here's how:
    - Find your representative here.
    - Find your Senator here.
    - Give them a call through the capital switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Raku Soho | @rakunyc