“Small businesses like restaurants are the backbone of our local economy,” said Elmwood Park Village President Angelo “Skip” Saviano. “We are proud of our reputation as a dining destination and we are doing everything we can to support these small businesses during these unprecedented times.”
It is no secret The Village of Elmwood Park understands the value of supporting the broad array of eateries situated on “restaurant row” or nestled on “the circle.” Investing in additional parking, hosting boisterous food festivals, and relentlessly promoting menu specials has helped to make Elmwood Park a dining destination. And now, creative thinking on the part of village leadership has resulted in the Elmwood Park Eats voucher program designed to benefit both residents and restaurants.
“Restaurants have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic,” said Saviano. “And they are among our most important businesses, so we’ve worked hard to come up with innovative ways to support them.”
As part of the innovative program, all Elmwood Park residents will receive $5 vouchers good for use on a purchase of $15 or more at participating restaurants. In addition to driving much-needed business to local dining establishments, the vouchers aim to reward residents for their commitment to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community and aid in stretching a family dollar farther in the local economy.
“Our hope is that these dining vouchers will also provide relief to our residents, many of whom have struggled during the pandemic,” said Saviano. “The vouchers can be used like cash to buy a meal for the family at one of our local restaurants.”
In a letter sent to residents Saviano encourages community members to use the vouchers to support a new restaurant or indulge in a restaurant meal on a weeknight. Twenty-four restaurants are participating in the program including local favorites peddling Cuban tostones, Japanese maki rolls, vibrant burrito bowls and indulgent cheeseburgers.
Residents would do well to use a voucher when purchasing an 18-inch Alpine sub, brimming with ham, salami and capicollo, and a pound of colorful primavera pasta salad from the eponymous food shop at 7538 W. North Ave.
Alternatively, a hungry resident could use a voucher to add a bowl of chili to their next order at Russell’s Barbecue, 1621 N. Thatcher Ave. Russell’s has been a mainstay in Elmwood Park since 1930 — they serve charming nostalgia in every sandwich and honor their rich history with every slice of brisket slathered in their signature cinnamon-forward sauce, but a bowl of their savory chili is a delightful winter treat.
Stopping by Burger Moovment 7512 W. North Ave., is another option to make the most of having an extra $5 to spend on a restaurant meal. Adding on an all-American burger like the Classic Moov, topped with American Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise on a soft, yet sturdy brioche bun can be a downright economical indulgence.
There are practically endless options to satiate just about any craving in Elmwood Park and village officials are working to ensure the future success of their valued collection of restaurants by making an investment in them today. Their relentless support of bakeries, bars, breakfast cafes and restaurants is reflected in the fact the voucher program is offered at no-cost to participating restaurants. Leaders are excited to see how widely the vouchers are utilized within the community and may consider opening the program to surrounding communities in the future.
“Friends and neighbors want to support their local businesses,” said Saviano. “Our residents have really stepped up over the last year and we are glad to be able to help in any way possible.”