The restaurant industry has been hit especially hard since the start of the pandemic. Here in town, dozens of restaurants have closed down for good, and many continue to struggle. In order to help provide local establishments with much-needed assistance, Chase Sapphire, the premiere travel rewards credit card, established a Sapphire Supports Restaurants Contest, in order to not only draw attention to local restaurants but to provide winners with additional financial resources. One restaurant here in Tucson managed to claim one of the top spots in the contest.
Back in July, Chase Sapphire opened up nominations for local restaurants. Individuals could nominate their favorite restaurants. In total, more than 2,500 bars and restaurants were nominated. Chase then went on and narrowed it down to 20 award winners. The credit card company did this by bringing in a panel of culinary industry professionals who considered a number of factors, including community impact, creativity during the pandemic to remain open and continue paying employees, as well as the overall quality of the food. Even the overall passion of the nominator was considered.
In the end, Feast at 3719 East Speedway was chosen as one of the 20 award winners. Feast specializes in a rotating menu based on what’s fresh and available during the season. Their November menu includes everything from Brandade fritters and a grilled pear salad to a lamb meatball sandwich, house-smoked mackerel, and a pork porterhouse steak.
Every one of the 20 winners each received $50,000 from Chase in order to help sustain the restaurants and give back to the establishments. All of this adds up to a total of $1 million in funds given back to community restaurants.
Feast is the only restaurant in Arizona to win the award as well as the cash prize. Of the other 19 award winners, three hail from Chicago, three from New York City, two from Los Angeles, as well as individual restaurants in North Dakota, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, and Washington, DC. The state of California saw the most award winners with four.
Feast received a special write-up on the Sapphire Supports Restaurant Web page. It details how the restaurant provided complimentary meals to front-line workers, first responders, as well as the homeless throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, Feast has provided over 8,500 meals for those in need (making it one of the largest food donors in all of metro Tucson). This also helped keep the staff employed, because while the restaurant saw business decline and could have cut worker hours, Feast and owner Doug Levy, kept everyone on that wanted to work, making sure employees could continue taking a paycheck home, even at the worst points of the pandemic.