Madeline Harts of Bowling Green and Collin Stegeman of Toledo eat on Thursday at Pam’s Corner in downtown Toledo.
There’s only so much frozen food one person can eat before feeling a little cross-eyed.
When restaurants in Lucas, Wood, and Fulton counties were forced to close during the weekend — that little water problem, rendering all tap water unusable and unsafe for consumption — that “no-more-microwaved-meals” feeling hit Collin Stegeman pretty fast.
After one day without a decent meal, he’d had enough, so the downtown dweller found his way to Ye Olde Durty Bird, a restaurant and bar at South St. Clair and Washington streets.
“It’s a big drag to not have food options,” said Mr. Stegeman, who said he is a frequent patron of Toledo’s many locally owned restaurants.
Mr. Stegeman of the Toledo Symphony and his colleague, Madeline Harts of the Toledo Opera, dined Thursday at Pam’s Corner, a cozy downtown Toledo breakfast and lunch spot on 10th Street, to put some of their hard-earned money back into the local economy.
“For every dollar you spend at a locally owned business, it’s going back into the local economy,” Mr. Stegeman said. “Plus, Pam is awesome.”
Ahmed Jarouche, right, owner of Grape Leaf Express in Perrysburg. Toledoans have organized an effort to help bolster local restaurants and their employees after losing income due to the do-not-use water alert this past weekend. A
The eat-local movement is not new, and it’s not novel to Toledo, but the idea got a boost this week when Colleen Mercurio, a part-time bartender at Lighthouse, and some friends wanted to find a way to help local restaurants who were adversely affected by the do-not-consume water advisory that was issued Saturday morning and not lifted until Monday at about 9 a.m. They call their movement Eat Out, Toledo.
And patronizing local restaurants has numerous benefits. The restaurants that lost money while closed can recuperate some of their losses, and the servers or bartenders who often rely on tips to make ends meet can make up lost wages.
Ahmed Jarouche, who owns Grape Leaf Express in Perrysburg, said business on Wednesday and Thursday was busier thanks to the Eat Out, Toledo effort. He estimates his restaurant lost about $3,500 in revenue during the two-day closure.
A Facebook page has been set up for the occasion: www.facebook.com/EatOutToledo.