As restaurants and eateries struggle to stay afloat with only outdoor dining in New Jersey amid Phase 2 of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, some Hudson County residents have taken matters into their own hands.
In Bayonne, residents from Bayonne Elks Lodge 434 are offering their support to restaurants that are still open. Members reach out to local restaurants with outdoor dining as the Bayonne Elks Lodge 434 Dine Out Team.
The team supports local eateries with outdoor space that are suffering from restrictions placed on Bayonne businesses, by eating at the establishments, said Lisa DiLorenzo said, a liaison from the lodge.
“It’s just our way of supporting our local eateries that were already stocked to open and then couldn’t,” DiLorenzo said. “I have reached out to establishments that would like our support, and if they haven’t done so yet, I urge them to do it.”
According to DiLorenzo, their efforts may soon extend beyond just dining out at restaurants with available outdoor dining space. Soon the Dine Out Team may also be the Takeout Team.
“Our officers and members even discussed ordering out from those businesses not fortunate enough to have outside seating,” DiLorenzo said. “It is the simplest of things to do when you consider there are so many foodies in our lodge who go out to eat, or order in, etc.”
The Dine Out Team has been a smashing success due to the number of food-loving members of the Elks Lodge, according to DiLorenzo. The simple idea has been well received by the restaurants, fellow residents, and Elks from other towns.
“I have been contacted by other lodges asking how we went about setting it up,” DiLorenzo said. “Hopefully, other Elks and other organizations will lend a hand.”
As the reopening in New Jersey amid the COVID-19 pandemic moves forward, the Dine Out Team is ready to support restaurants open for indoor dining once that is permitted again. The team initially planned to support indoor dining at local restaurants before Gov. Phil Murphy’s reversal on guidelines allowing indoor dining.
Putting their money where their mouths are
DiLorenzo put together the team to help the mom-and-pop restaurants throughout the city. The team held its first event at the The Vic on July 1.
It had a showing of nearly 20 people, which has remained consistent for the group since. Turnout is expected to continue to grow as the group plans its next events.
“Thanks to all members that joined our DINE OUT TEAM @ The Vic,” DiLorenzo said. “Thanks Al and Nady and your courteous staff for the accommodations and delicious food. Good thing that rain held out.”
According to DiLorenzo, the Dine Out Team plans on doing this bi-weekly, every Wednesday.
On July 15 they went to LaGuardiola. Next up is the Starting Point on July 29.
Any outdoor eatery that would like the support of the Dine Out Team should call Lisa DiLorenzo at 201-589-4344.
“We will be happy to support with a DINE OUT!” DiLorenzo said.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.