MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The restaurant industry in Memphis is being severely challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. But they’re getting some help with a new push from Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland that also benefits the Mid-South Food Bank.
"These times you just have to be a little more creative with the ways you would go about trying to make money,” said Jeff Johnson, owner of Local Gastropub.
Jeff Johnson, the owner of the Local Gastropubs, is getting creative by selling crawfish that would have been used in the now postponed Overton Square Crawfish Festival.
"One of the things that makes this somewhat easier to cope with is that everybody is in the same boat,” said Johnson.
Even with the slower business, Johnson opened a new, New Orleans style restaurant called Parish Grocery.
Johnson says he was able to open after being approved for the Federal Payment Protection Program and seeing how supportive the Memphis community has been -- and that support is getting a boost!
Friday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced a “Mayor’s Meal Challenge.”
For every picture of Memphians eating takeout food tweeted to the city or Mayor Strickland, the mayor promises to donate $25 to the Mid-South Food Bank.
"This is a good and small way we can all help out small businesses and the Mid South Food Bank,” said Mayor Strickland.
"Anything that could donate some money to the food bank and people in need, or anything that can help get people out and supporting the local restaurants is fantastic,” said Johnson.
The mayor is using leftover campaign funds from the last election to fund the campaign.
Photos of delicious meals have already flooded the mayor’s timeline.
"I think it's a great push. Anything helps,” said Johnson,
Mayor Strickland says he has up to $2,500 to donate.