Eastie Strong Program Distributes Gift Cards

The new pandemic relief program started by East Boston Main Streets (EBMS), a coalition of real estate developers and local business owners began distributing merchandise gift cards to residents to be used at participating Eastie restaurants.  

According to EBMS Director Gladys Oliveros the new “Eastie Strong” initiative has two components. While the first is the Adopt a Patio program the other is the Gift Card Program. 

Katie Warren (left), a Northeastern University student was the first person to use a gift card as part of the Eastie Strong Gift Card program. She purchased pizza and salad at Dirty Water Dough on Maverick. Jacqueline Babin (right) is an employee at Dirty Water.

Earlier this year Eastie Strong distributed two rounds of grant money through the Adopt a Patio program. The program provided capital to fund reopening costs related to complying with COVID-19 restrictions. The funds were used by more than a dozen Eastie restaurants to purchase items such as outdoor furniture, umbrellas, and space heaters for the winter.  

Last week local real estate developers and sponsors began distributing gift cards directly to their tenants for use only at participating local restaurants. 

This first round included 310 gift cards totaling $31,000, pumping funds directly into the community.

“What makes this gift card unique is that unlike other restaurant gift cards, these are for use only in local owned East Boston restaurants,” said Oliveros. “This will help tremendously to bring life back to an industry that has been so severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.” 

Participating restaurants include Jak’s Pizzeria, Dirty Water Dough Pizzeria, Mexicali Sushi Bar, La Casa del Pan Debono, Tawakal Halal Café, Pazza on Porter, Rincon Limeno, Perros Paisas and La Gran Manzana.

Most of these restaurants received relief during Eastie Strong’s Adopt a Patio program. 

“We are so pleased to partner with East Boston Main Streets, to help our Eastie neighbors who were among the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nick Black, Managing Director of The Trustees Boston Waterfront Initiative, who are sponsors of the program. “We’re grateful to TD Bank for their support of this program through the TD Ready Commitment, and look forward to continuing to work with the community through the long recovery process we all face together.”

Other sponsors of the program include The Grossman Companies, The Davis Companies, Roseland Residential, Trinity Financial, Cranshaw Construction, LendLease, East Boston Savings Bank and Norfolk Kitchen and Bath. The program is being managed on a pro bono basis by local consult, the Novus Group. 

The program has currently distributed over $25,000 dollars in direct aid to local restaurants.

Stephen Davis of The Davis Companies said his company wanted to find a way to help our tenants as well as contribute to the local restaurant economy which has suffered greatly during the pandemic.  David Grossman of the Grossman Companies, who is spearheading the fundraising component of the program with The Davis Companies, said the program is a win for both local businesses and tenants because it helps tenants afford a night out while providing a financial lifeline to restaurants

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