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Austin restaurants unpack unique community event to combat COVID-19

Austin restaurants unpack unique community event to combat COVID-19

Stiles Switch barbecue overhead shot
Stiles Switch BBQ is serving a family pack for 4-6 people for $62.50. Photo courtesy of Stiles Switch BBQ
ATX Living Room Picnic
Follow along and post a photo of your own living room (or backyard... or front porch...) picnic. Courtesy of ATX Living Room Picnic
Stiles Switch barbecue overhead shot
ATX Living Room Picnic

For many of us, one of the most difficult things about social distancing is not being able to share a meal. Whether that's extended family dinners or cocktail hour on a sunny patio, the measures that help combat the global pandemic are keeping us apart. And boy is it difficult. 

To help cultivate a sense of community (and increase much-needed revenue), dozens of Austin restaurants are participating in the ATX Living Room Picnic, a citywide event that invites locals to join together for a picnic ... in their own living room.

On Saturday, April 4, local eateries will offer special picnic-style meals available for purchase. Austinites can swing by locally owned eateries for curbside service or choose delivery at select restaurants. Once home, roll out a blanket, unpack your basket, pour out a drink, and dine knowing that friends and neighbors across the city are doing the exact same thing.

Peruse menus here, where you will also find ordering info and pick-up details. Then follow along at @atxlocallove and #atxlivingroompicnic.

While the event is a sweet way to participate in a community activity, it's also helping local businesses generate money following the unprecedented regulations that forced many restaurants to dramatically cut operations or suspend them all together. 

"Right now every dollar counts," says Amanda Wadsworth, co-owner of Tiny Pies, one of the many restaurants participating on Saturday. "With the increased business that the event hopefully brings, it can help us not only keep the doors open, but allow us to help our Tiny Pies family continue to earn the living that they depend on to support their families."

And since this is of course the Live Music Capital of the World, the SIMS Foundation is creating a special ATX Living Room Picnic playlist especially for the occasion. Like our restaurants and bars, Austin's music community has been gutted by the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent cancellation of SXSW. Participants who stream the playlist can donate to the nonprofit, which provides affordable mental health and substance use services to Central Texas musicians.

"It's imperative that we support local businesses now and get back to our roots, supporting local," says Wadsworth. "If we don't, we may just wake up after the pandemic is over and see a ghost town where local businesses used to be."

Restaurants participating in this weekend's event:

  • Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
  • Austin Beerworks
  • Austin Rotisserie
  • Blenders & Bowls
  • Buenos Aires Cafe
  • Burro Cheese Kitchen
  • The Cavalier
  • Central District Brewing
  • Chi’Lantro
  • Colleen's Kitchen
  • Cover 3
  • Dolce Neve
  • Domo Alley Gato
  • Easy Tiger
  • El Camaron Taco Delivery
  • Epicerie
  • Ghost Kitchen
  • Guero's
  • Hopdoddy
  • The Infinite Monkey Theorem
  • Juliet Italian Kitchen
  • Kerby Lane Cafe
  • Kemuri Tatsu-Ya
  • The League
  • Lenoir
  • LeRoy and Lewis
  • L’Oca d’Oro
  • Loro
  • Loronelli’s
  • Mighty Cone
  • Nourished by Kurant
  • Old Thousand
  • Peached Tortilla
  • Ramen Tatsu-Ya
  • Rebel Cheese & Charcuterie
  • Salt & Time
  • Seoulju Korean Restaurant and Bar
  • Spread & Co.
  • St. Elmo Brewing
  • Stiles Switch
  • Tiny Pies
  • Tony C’s
  • Tso Chinese Delivery
  • Z’Tejas
  • Zilker Brewing

A rep says more restaurants should be added as the date approaches.