LIVE TO EAT: Randy Smith offers “a grass-roots campaign to support and sustain local eateries.”


It’s an excellent strategy for helping your favorite eateries without jumping through hoops. Just invest in your future meals by helping them pay the light bills now.

Thanks to Randy for contributing this idea. Have you purchased gift cards from your favorite independent local businesses? Tell me about it.

To the Editors:

Hi, guys. My spouse and I, as we’ve aged, are eating out less frequently. Part of that is a habit of healthy eating, but, frankly, my own business had never really contributed much to our household income.

We’ve also ramped up our travel via vacations, taking about 2 week-long vacations each year and a few long weekends. Necessarily, that boosts the number of occasions where we eat out. Someday I hope to share our favorite out-of-town dining experiences with you. We’ve had some great ones in Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

At root, though, we have a few local independent restaurants we love.

I wanted to talk to you about a grass-roots campaign to support and sustain local eateries. Yes, there are other such campaigns. But independent restaurants are “independent” and rarely are willing to ask for help.

Can’t we who aren’t struggling right now throw a few bucks to them?

Here’s my proposal. Pick your 3 favorite independent restaurants. Call them and buy a gift certificate of $25, $50, $75, or $100.

Maybe you order takeout, too, but the pure cash infusion now in exchange for sustaining those restaurants into the future seems to me to be an invaluable investment.

Three of our favorites have suspended operations until further notice, and I regret that I can’t invest in their futures right now. But those who are hanging in right now can use our help. And those other three will value our patronage when they return to “normality.”

We are investing $75 each in Aladdin’s Cafe on Bank Street, and Israel’s Delicias de Mexico Gourmet on Market Street.

We stand ready to do the same for Cups and Cones on Vincennes Street, Hing Wang on Spring Street, and New Albanian on Plaza Drive. If you know how we can do that, let us know.

These are our favorites. You’ll have your own. Pick three of them and invest in their futures. After all, they are one of the biggest contributors to our quality of life in New Albany.

Randy Smith, formerly of Destinations Booksellers, et al.


  1. I neglected to mention The Rice Bowl, who has also suspended operations. We'd want to add them to our list. That's 6, and I'm only suggesting you choose 3, but we'll buy from more if we can do it.