Originally Featured in The Spinal Column: Read The Full Article Here
Restaurants in Michigan are back open for in-person dining, and the Wixom DDA is armed with free meals, ready to surprise lucky diners as part of their continued “Wednesdays in Wixom” initiative.
The program, which is in its third year, is a partnership between the Wixom Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the nine main restaurants in Wixom’s downtown.
Here’s how it works: a different restaurant is chosen each week and patrons are selected at random. Every Wednesday in January and February, a DDA board member will show up to the predetermined restaurant of the week and surprise winners with a card stating that their dinner has been paid for by the Wixom DDA.
Wixom DDA Executive Director Laura Cloutier says the program was started as a way to give back to the community and support the restaurant and hospitality industry in Wixom during what is typically their slowest time of year.
“This year I think it’s more important than ever that we are doing this because our community during this pandemic has been nothing but amazing in supporting our local businesses and supporting our downtown,” Cloutier said. “This is the least the DDA can do to give back to those people who have been supporting these businesses, our program and just trying to keep these businesses up and running during this traumatic time.”
The restaurant and hospitality industry in Michigan have been amongst some of the hardest hit following a series of restrictions and “pauses” due to COVID-19. On Monday, restaurants were able to resume indoor dining at limited capacities following a nearly three-month ban. To help combat rising numbers of coronavirus cases, in mid-November restaurants were ordered to close for indoor dining and limited to curbside, carryout and outdoor dining only.
“Last January when we were doing Wednesdays in Wixom the restaurants were packed. It really caught on the second year and people were looking for us. This year we have the restrictions in place, but we’ve been able to adapt and we’re making it work,” Cloutier told The Spinal Column in January. “There are a few restaurants in downtown that do offer outdoor dining. We’ve been able to surprise people in-person. It’s remarkable people coming out on a snowy night to eat outdoors, but they’re doing it.”
“It’s important because if we don’t have a healthy, thriving downtown we don’t have a community. Downtown and main streets are the heart of cities and communities across the country and we need them to survive more than ever.”
Participating restaurants include LaCasita, Drafting Table Brewing Company, Trail’s Edge Café, Alex’s Pizzeria, Wixom Station, Volare Ristorante, Al Maidah, Wixom Bar, and Backyard Coney Island.
Diners can check the Downtown Wixom Facebook page for updates and clues as to where the DDA team will stop by each week. One week, two restaurants will be chosen. The initiative runs through February 24, dine-in or carryout.
The Wednesdays in Wixom program is funded through the DDA budget. For more information on DDA programs and upcoming events, visit downtownwixom.org.