While the pandemic has had a devastating effect on every facet of the economy, few industries have been hit harder than the restaurant business.

Amid rolling shutdowns and indoor dining capacity restrictions, all restaurant owners have had to quickly adapt, and some businesses have not survived the ordeal. Tina Grande, owner of G.N.A Ristorante, and Heather Brady of Do it Local Fundraising, had an idea to help restaurants not just survive, but thrive: host family meal “popups” in different neighborhood locations.

“​My theory is–what’s the worst that can happen​?” said Grande. “​I’d rather say I tried and it didn’t work out then not try at all!​”

“​I feel like part of the family with my restaurants,”​ added Brady. “​I am on their team, truly generating food sales that wouldn’t exist without my program. I have the pleasure of truly getting to know each owner & their personalities & their families. The more I get to know them, the more I love them! Supporting these great local restaurants not only helps their businesses but also their families survive these tough times.”

Brady added an option on her website, doitlocalberks.com, where people were able to place takeout orders from local restaurants a few days in advance. Several months after the first restaurant popup order was delivered straight to Brady’s driveway for customers to pick up, additional residents are hosting popups in their communities as well. Brady noted that she is especially thankful for the efforts of J​oie McKim, Lora Fiore, Elizabeth Dlugolecki, Erin Weaver, and Alycia Lenhart for hosting popups.

​“​I offered to help because my best friend has a family restaurant in Ambler and they are struggling,​” said popup host Lora Fiore. “​I can’t help her all the way up here, so I decided to contact Heather to help those I knew in Berks County as my way of giving back. Since then I have had GNA, Nonno Albys, and today Crave in my development. It has been a fun way to help out and not have to cook dinner!”

“​As a restaurant owner, [these popups are] awesome, because I’m now reaching people that maybe have never ordered from my establishment​,” said Grande. “​In times like this, I’ve learned that [help from the] community is why small businesses still are where they are at.”

You can see a schedule of upcoming popups and order a meal here:
https://www.doitlocalberks.com/familymeals. Participating restaurants include Crave Cafe, GNA Ristorante, Mimmo’s, Gourmand, and Nonno Alby’s.