The coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting everything in the world right now, and small local businesses have been chief among them. As someone who works in food service, and whose job was impacted by COVID-19, I want to specifically highlight local restaurants. With all the changes that have been made, from social distancing inside restaurants (i.e., spacing tables 6 feet apart) to take-out only, owners have had to change multiple, if not all, components of how they run their business.
Several restaurants in Tallahassee alone have already decided to close down permanently, and as this pandemic continues indefinitely, the possibility of other restaurants being forced to follow suit is incredibly high.
I understand that during these unprecedented times, many families might be too scared to leave their homes, and that is completely understandable. We don't want to underplay the risks here. On top of that, money is tight for thousands of people right now. But, if you're going to be eating out, and you can afford to do so, I urge you to support local and small businesses as much as you can, especially those who have yet to be open for even a full year.
If you're too scared to eat out but want to help, there are several ways to support restaurants without dining there!
Pour on the good reviews and recommendations, because someone who has never enjoyed their food before might be swayed to do so.
Purchase gift cards to gift to others, or to save for when it's safe to eat out again!
Donate meals to the restaurant, whether it's to those who need it or to essential workers, this allows you to support the restaurant and give a meal to someone who might be in need of one!
That being said, here are 10 local restaurants in Tallahassee that could use your help right now!
Disclaimer: In no way am I trying to say that these are the only 10 restaurants who need help! There are thousands of restaurants who could use your support right now, but this specific list is comprised only of restaurants that I have been to myself (and I've only lived in Tallahassee for three years)!
And yes, I understand that non-local/non-small businesses (i.e., chain restaurants) employ local workers. They need our support too! I am not saying that you shouldn't eat there at all! I'm just asking that you support local and small businesses as much as you can. This is not about only eating local, this is about eating local as much as you can.
My favorite place for all things poke, sushi burritos, ramen, and boba!
Here are some of my absolute favorite specials from BoruBoru:
Ramen Sunday: Free chicken potstickers with all ramen orders!
Two Sides Wednesday: Mix and match any two sides for only $4. Your choices include Korean Popcorn Chicken, Takoyaki, Gyoza, Miso Soup, Ginger Salad, Edamame, Seaweed Salad, and Sweet Potato Wedges!
Boba Friday: 20% off all boba teas. I highly recommend the Taro Coconut Creme Boba!
Disclaimer: I work here and absolutely love their food.
2. RailRoad Square Craft House.
This place is one of my boyfriend and I's favorite for date night! Their Bombs Away appetizer is out of this world, order it and you will not regret it, I promise! It's also a great place to go if you are a beer lover, their selection is intense.
Here are some of my favorite specials from their current deals:
Tuesday: $6 Cheeseburger and fries.
Wednesday: 60¢ wings and $2 side of french fries.
Saturday: Free buffalo dip with $15 purchase.
3. Canopy Road Cafe.
If you live in Tallahassee and have never heard of Canopy Road Cafe, then you must be living under a rock. It's one of the most popular breakfast places in Tally, and rightfully so!
Here are some of my favorite dishes from Canopy:
The Fat Elvis: Peanut butter chips, bananas, chopped bacon with peanut butter drizzle.
The Abner: Fried chicken tenders, scrambled eggs, and honey butter drizzle on two buttermilk biscuits.
The Skeeter: Country fried steak, sautéed onions, and sausage gravy.
4. Bada Bean.
The Bada Bean is probably, hands down, my favorite place for Eggs Benedict. While my boyfriend always orders the Crab Cake Benedict, I typically opt for the Steak and Onion Benedict.
What's really awesome though, is that Bada Bean has actually been doing some scrumptious family meals that you can order and pick up! From keto bacon-wrapped cajun spiced BBQ pork chops to chicken tetrazzini.
5. Little Masa.
If you've ever dined at (Big) Masa, then Little Masa is the complete opposite. Sadly, Masa is temporarily closed but Little Masa is open and happy to serve! It's super casual, colorful, charming! One of my top places to go for sushi and some yummy Asian fusion favorites!
They've recently launched a family menu that is only $35 and provides you with a select appetizer, three select meals, and one side!
Here are some of my favorite daily specials:
Two-Roll Tuesday: Two select rolls for $12
Wok-It Wednesday: Free miso soup/salad or egg roll with purchase of Wok Your Way.
Friday: Free side with an entree!
6. Sweet Pea Cafe.
If you're on a vegan diet or enjoy vegan foods, I highly suggest you check out their menu. If anything, I suggest checking our their menu just for a good laugh - they have awesome names for their dishes.
They do different specials every day and typically post them to their Facebook page.
7. SōDOUGH Baking Co.
Without a doubt, my absolute favorite donut place in Tallahassee. They are far from your typical donuts, these are brioche-style - so more texture, more flavor, and more deliciousness. The one donut I always order from them is their Boston Cream. They also serve breakfast and lunch, check out their menu.
8. Pho Me Vietnamese Noodle Bar.
Pho Me is one of my absolute favorite pho places simply because of the amount of options! They even offer vegan pho and a build your own soup bowl option. Better yet, they offer several other Vietnamese dishes besides pho, including other noodle soups and banh mi (a type of sandwich) so the options really are endless.
I typically order the pho dac biet, which is known as the meat lover's pho, simply because that's what I grew up eating. I don't usually finish all the meat (I'm not a huge meat-eater), but it does add to the flavor of the broth!
9. Voodoo Dog.
I rarely crave burgers and hot dogs but, Voodoo Dog is the place to go. They have some pretty great options, and when you can, I highly suggest you eat there because you'll love the posters and their arcade machine.
Here are some of my favorite orders:
The Barth: Angus burger topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar and American cheese.
The Chili Dog: Regular dog topped with homemade chili, mustard and onions.
The Jefferson: Bacon-wrapped dog topped with housemade mac 'n' cheese.
10. Rankin Tacos.
To those of you who aren't aware, Rankin Tacos actually used to be a food truck! Not too long ago, they opened a storefront, which is the one I visited. My boss ordered $70 worth of tacos and we all ate to our heart's content!
Here are some of favorites (some of the tacos have choice options for protein/toppings, so these just have the ones I picked):
The Tac-Wondo: Southern Fried Chicken, Asian Fusion cabbage slaw, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chow mein noodles.
The Rad-Neck: Double beef, PepperJack, Rankin Dust Tots, homemade salsa, and diced jalapenos.
The B Widget: Southern Fridge Chicken, "Buff-BQ" cabbage slaw, spicy pickles, bleu cheese, and buffalo sauce.