Help and Changes for Restaurants

Good restaurants are all doing extra cleaning. Vino 209 also rearranged seating, then switched to carry-out only Tuesday, when dining rooms were closed under a public health order.

By Karla Walsh

Under a public health emergency declaration issued this morning, all Iowa restaurants and bars were ordered to suspend on-premise service. Carry-out and delivery are allowed. Of course, most of these businesses were already responding aggressively to protect their patrons, with new carry-out and delivery services.

As a huge cheerleader of local restaurants, I woke up last Friday morning feeling like I wanted to try to do something–anything–to try to help them during this uncertain time. So I posted a call-out on Facebook for anyone in the industry to share details about how we can purchase gift cards to use once things calm down or how we can best support their venue at this time. The response was passionate and strong that yes, our restaurants need us now more than ever.

Restaurants “will make your favorite meals and you can opt for carryout,” said Jessica Dunker, the Iowa Restaurant Association’s president and CEO, before today’s statewide restriction. “If you’re in a position to buy a gift card and sit on it for a while, you will be helping your local favorite hospitality establishment get through a tough time.”

I went on a gift card-purchasing tour to five venues and plan to buy more this week. Think of how much impact we can make if everyone reading this chooses even one.

Below is a roundup of some resources that will make it easier to show your favorite spots some support. (Don’t see your No. 1 on the list? Give them a call and see if you can order takeout or purchase gift cards. Some are also available for delivery on Grubhub, Uber Eats, etc.)

If now isn’t a good time to spend some money, then share a favorable review on social media or even send an email or handwritten note to let them know how much the business means to you. None of us know exactly what to do or how to feel right now, but a mental boost and pep talk would do our collective soul some good, don’t you think?

Creme CupcakeOffers gift certificates that can be purchased in person or over the phone (515.288.1050) for mail delivery. “Social Distancing Cupcake Kits” are also available for delivery to keep creative types entertained during spring break and beyond.

Bubba mails gift cards upon request; order by calling 515.257.4744. Or you can stop by the restaurant to purchase. Same holds true for sister restaurant Teddy Maroon’s at 515.212.4900.

ProofOffers gift cards which can be purchased in person or by phone for postal delivery at 515.244.0655.

Gusto Pizza Co.: Offers gift cards at both locations or you can order by phone at 515.244.8786 for mail delivery. All menu items are available for delivery via Food Dudes, Grub Hub and Door Dudes as well as carryout, including take-and-bake and regular pizzas. Gusto’s 14-inch Spartacus, Soprano and cheese pizzas are also now available frozen.

HoQSells gift cards via phone for mail delivery or pickup at 515.244.1213.

Aposto: Mails gift certificates when you purchase by phone at 515.244.1353.

CentroDjangoMaloGateway Market & CafeZombie Burger + Drink LabSouth Union Bread Cafe, and Liberty Street Kitchen have e-gift cards available online and gift cards are sold at each venue.

Table 128 offers gift cards for purchase online. This morning, owners Sarah and Lynn Pritchard announced a subscription dinner plan for five weeks for $80. Check their website and watch their Facebook page for more details.

Vino 209: Will offer carryout with curbside pickup starting tomorrow, March 18. Gift cards available via phone at 515.255.1209.

HarbingerOffers gift cards in person or through mail at Harbinger; call 515.244.1314 or email to arrange.

RI Restaurant: Offers gift certificates in person anytime after 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Lola’s Fine Kitchen: Offers online ordering for takeout.

Alba: Ships gift cards ordered via phone at 515.244.0261.

Grateful Chef: Continues to offer healthy pre-made and freezer meals for takeout (via preorder and grab-and-go, as supplies last), and also offers gift certificates in person and online.

Cheese Bar DSM and the Cheese Shop both have gift cards in store, via mail with phone orders (515.528.8181) or online. The Cheese Shop also ships cheese gift boxes to many Midwest states (including Iowa, of course) in case you need to restock your fridge or want to share the fromage fun.

El Guapo’s Tequila + Tacos: Ships gift cards ordered by phone at 515.216.2198.

St. Kilda Surf & Turf and both St. Kilda DSM locations offer takeout and gift certificates for purchase at each shop.

The Beerhouse and the Hall will soon offer discounted gift cards. Keep an eye on the Beerhouse Facebook page and the Hall Facebook page for more information.

All Fong’s Pizza locations have gift cards available online. They also have online ordering for carryout or delivery via MyTown2Go of fully cooked or take-and-bake pizzas, with extended delivery hours from 11 a.m. to midnight daily.

Gilroy’s: Sells gift cards at the restaurant and online.

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