In an effort to stay afloat and help farmers and small vendors move product which has been slow to make its way to grocery store shelves, restaurateurs are finding new ways to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

While the federal government is working with the Senate on a $1 trillion emergency relief bill that will help shuttered restaurants, among others, local eateries are still scrambling to make payroll. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says measures will allow closed restaurants to continue paying their employees.

In the meantime all Zinc Cafe & Market locations, including their downtown outpost in the Arts District, have begun stocking common grocery items for in-store shopping to help service their neighborhood’s basic day-to-day needs, in addition to continued delivery and pick-up services. Plus, as a modest token of gratitude for practicing social distancing, the cafe is throwing in a free roll of toilet paper while supplies last to all delivery orders within a 15-mile radius of the nearest location.

Featured items include:

  • Toilet paper roll: $1.25
  • Paper towel roll: $3
  • Butter: $4.50
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese: $3.50
  • Half-flat of eggs (15): $4.50
  • Half-gallon milk: $3.50
  • Russet potatoes: $1/lb
  • Red onion: $1/lb
  • Tomatoes: $3/lb
  • Brussels sprouts: $2/lb
  • Broccoli: $2.50/lb
  • Lemons: $.75
  • Limes: $.65
  • Burger buns: $1.50
  • Olive oil (16 oz.): $5
  • Pasta: $3.50-4.50

“I think that this crazy environment that has been handed to us forces us to re-invent and refresh,” John Secretan, president of  Zinc Cafe & Market tells L.A. Weekly. “This crisis is so big that  you realize that everyone is affected from the flower vendors, produce vendors, paper good vendors, etc.” Zinc has assisted communities  during natural disasters, community based needs, and now this health crisis.  “We’re trying to maintain employment for our staff and coming up with new ideas to make Zinc stay vital to the community is critical and they respond with enjoying the fresh ideas and purchasing goods allowing us to make payroll. It’s a win win.”

Rustic Kitchen Market and Cafe is also stocking staple items like milk, pasta, condiments, fruits and vegetables, in addition to their regular takeout menu. Chefs in outlying areas like Clark Staub at Full of Life Foods in Los Alamos and Daniel Villanueva in Cathedral City have been working as food pickup hubs for farmers like Jacob Grant from Roots Organic Farm to help distribute an abundance of product to their communities, and serve as a way to avoid crowds at the supermarket.


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