Kalamazoo eaters share cravings and keep restaurants open

Kalamazoo area diners may be restricted to carry out or delivery due to state measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, but they still have plenty of restaurant choices – and the nearly 20,000 members of a 10-day-old Facebook group can attest to that.

During any other time, Kalamazoo Menu would appear as your average crowd-sourcing page, with members seeking recommendations for enormous salads, options to satisfy a specific craving, or to leave a restaurant review (though the lack of harsh critiques is a noticeable difference).

Good intelligence on restaurants takes on a new level of importance when you’re told to stay home. With an inspiring twist on the social distancing component that is crucial to slowing the transmission of the virus, the group’s motto – ‘Distance Socially, Eat Locally’ – encourages locals to combat hunger pangs during a pandemic with orders to eat elsewhere.

A separate Facebook group, Kalamazoo Flavor Menu, which is independent from Kalamazoo Menu, has been launched to highlight restaurants owned by women, minorities, and immigrants.

Beth Morrison, a Kalamazoo Menu page moderator, said members are encouraged to share positive experiences – and the obligatory food pic – about local restaurants that remain open.

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“It allows people to do something to support each other in a passive way, without putting themselves at risk,” she comments.

To be sure, cooking at home is the least risky way to eat while a virus remains at large. The governor’s executive orders to tackle COVID-19 only prevent patrons from eating in, however, buoying a restaurant’s struggling bottom line with takeout and delivery, which the federal Food & Drug Administration says it is within their food safety guidelines.

A separate group has been started by Kalamazoo Menu organizers for restaurant owners and managers to discuss evolving best practices for food safety.


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