For years, Mayor Patrick Wojahn has been a loyal supporter of the city’s local restaurants. Before the pandemic began, he and his husband, Dave, would regularly eat out on weekends, both in College Park and at other local establishments. When dining rooms across the country were forced to close in March, the couple chose not let this tragedy disrupt their tradition. They have continued showing their support for local restaurants and encouraging other residents to do the same by ordering takeout three days a week, dishing it up at home, and sharing photos on social media.
“Just because we have to stay home doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the things we love and support local restaurants,” Patrick said. When the pandemic first hit in the spring, he knew that it would cause difficulty for small-business owners, and he wanted to show the residents of College Park that these restaurants were still open for business, and that we could continue experiencing their delicious food safely at home.
Over the past four months, he and Dave ordered from every independently-owned restaurant in College Park at least once, enjoying meals from a new spot almost every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Before eating, Patrick would snap a photo with Dave and their mouth-watering meals in their dining room or on their deck, and then he’d share these images to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Each post received a flood of positive engagement from friends and followers all over the country, who loved seeing how the couple has stayed involved with the College Park scene during the pandemic.
Even as restaurants have begun to reopen their dining rooms, Patrick and Dave have continued enjoying takeout with their friends at home. They especially love eating on their deck, where they can experience the company of one another at a safe physical distance.
According to Patrick, this new tradition has given the couple an opportunity to be more adventurous with the foods they eat. It has inspired them to try restaurants they may have otherwise overlooked, and Patrick now appreciates more than ever the “great variety and diversity of restaurants” that College Park has to offer. He also recognized the effort made by many of these businesses to adapt and strengthen their online presence, noting that he and Dave always made an effort to order directly from the restaurants themselves, in order to ensure that their money would go toward supporting the local owners and employees as much as possible.
The Mayor’s commitment to supporting his surrounding community has undoubtedly made a positive impact in this period of unprecedented challenges, and it sets a wonderful example for residents of College Park to support their neighbors as well.