Save Our Restaurant Industry

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Save Our Restaurant Industry

I have to confess something to you. I have become a very concerned New Yorker.

The city I love, the city in which I was born, raised, educated and live, is in trouble. If you have navigated any part of the five boroughs, I am sure you have seen a change. Of course, most of it is due to the pandemic. Businesses have shuttered. Entire blocks are vacant. At night, most of the city is a ghost town…at 10 PM. The city that never sleeps is taking a long, long nap.

Other than the live performance industry, the one that has taken the biggest hit is the restaurant industry.

Although the pretty outdoor dining structures that have been crafted really provide a European feel to our town, the business model simply doesn’t work. With unrelenting rents, a reduction of people in the city, few tourists, and entire neighborhoods out of business (like Broadway or Lincoln Center) restaurants are struggling and faltering.

By the end of this month alone, a total of 11% of New York City restaurants have either closed or are expected to close.

Not sure what government officials are doing about it, other than bickering among themselves.

We are in a dire circumstance, and it is up to us, everyday New Yorkers, or those who love New York and are out of town, to make a difference.

I have joined a coalition of individuals who are looking to spread the word to this large population of people to consciously and actively support a local or favorite restaurant. Through the month of August, if you can, please consider ordering in, dining outdoors, or purchasing a gift certificate 2, 3, 4 times a week. It doesn’t have to be a big ticket item. An extra sandwich or salad, maybe a small meal you can buy for someone who lives alone, or you can surprise. A gift certificate for future meals. Whether you are in the city, have left town for the time being,  or live elsewhere and love New York, please call your favorite restaurant directly to place an order.

If more and more restaurants succumb to the incredible pressures of running a food business in New York, all of us will be even more severely affected. Think of all the industries tied to the restaurant business: food purveyors, laundries, real estate, beverage companies, florists, not to mention the people who work there.

And consider this: At the height of the pandemic, many, many restaurants prepared and donated food to health and hospital workers, front line and essential workers, and the homeless and hungry.  Restaurateurs did this while struggling themselves, dipping into their pockets to provide meals. It’s time for all of us to step up and return the favor. When you do order from a restaurant, If you would be so kind to post on social media, please use the  hashtag #returnthefavornyc.

Think consciously about how you can support a restaurant or two. Visit our new website,

Bagels and Broadway

Listen to my program, “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” Saturday morning from 9:05-10 on WNYM Radio, or on podcast following the broadcast, to hear my conversation with the founder of this movement, Chris La Cass. A passionate advocate, Chris has worked tirelessly to help the restaurants of New York, who have always been such an integral part of each community.

When you support one, you support us all.


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at

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