There is no denying the impact Covid-19 has had on our local dining scene. Several restaurants have closed their doors, and many will never regain the footing to reopen when restrictions lift. While area proprietors maintain business interruption insurance, Pandemic is specifically excluded from coverage.
So what is a food writer to do to quell the swelling anxiety over writing a food column, knowing that by the time it publishes there’s a chance the information is already outdated? Well. If I told you there wasn’t a single yellow car in Omaha, you’d notice a dozen. When I told myself there was nothing good to tell you about our current situation, positive interactions flooded my feed.
It has always been one of my very favorite quotes by the late and very great Fred Rogers. Look for the helpers. While it’s easy to get wrapped around the axle of all that seems to be going wrong, a lot of Omaha is righting itself in profound and beautiful ways. Here is a far-from-exhaustive list of area establishments pulling together to get us all to the other side in one piece.
Brickway Brewery and Distillery put their facility to heroic use by churning out Brickway hand sanitizer this week. The establishment offered “on-tap” and bring your own bottle service, while also handing out thousands of individual bottles to those in need. Smart business move, right? Not exactly. They’ve been handing these out for free, eating the cost of production themselves. The only business sense it makes is that their customers will be around to toast to their health again one day. Donations are being accepted in-house, so grab a canned cocktail and drop them a few dollars to keep the operation running!
Donate a Meal with Dandelion
Dandelion has pooled together resources to donate meals to those in need, while employing industry workers suddenly displaced by closures. Some of Omaha’s most noted chefs have volunteered their services, supplies, and their own money to make it happen. Even Omaha Steaks stepped up with a 7,000 pound donation of ground beef, chicken, and pork chops to the cause. If you’d like to help keep this effort moving, Venmo @DandelionPopOp your donations.
Project Harmony never takes a day off, because families experiencing violence and neglect are more at risk during times of confinement. This takeout Tuesday, a number of local restaurants are partnering with Project Harmony, giving away blue pinwheels for child abuse awareness. Order takeout from any of the following participating spots and tag Project Harmony in photos of your blue pinwheels to share awareness:
PITCH Coal-Fire Pizzeria (all locations)
Stokes Grill and Bar – Old Market
Stokes Grill and Bar – West
The Stokin’ Goat
Taxi’s Grille & Bar
Paradise Bakery & Cafe Regency
Paradise Bakery & Cafe Village Pointe
Twisted Fork Grill & Bar
Oklahoma Joe’s Omaha
Hiro 88 (all locations)
and Don & Millie’s (all locations)
Have you ever seen The Lego Movie? Spoiler, in the end, they figure out that they’re all the hero. In the end, the way they win is by everyone just doing whatever little bit they can. Taking what they have and making something only they can make. Today, that might mean turning your distillery into a sanitizer factory, or taking your sewing machine and making washable face masks. Whatever it is, do what you can, make what you can, and if you can’t find the helpers, be one.