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Mercer Island Tries to Boost Hurting Restaurants in Five Easy Steps

Step one: leave fat tips.

Eat here.
Eat here.
Shert J./Yelp

To help ease the financial blow restaurant owners took after being closed for several days earlier this month due to an E. coli scare, the city of Mercer Island and Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce just launched a new Dine Local Campaign. The Seattle Times reports on the program, which includes five handy tips for bolstering business for the 62 restaurants that shuttered -- and if they did reopen were only able to offer partial menus:

  • Leave fat tips.

  • Dine out with a friend.

  • Buy gift certificates from Mercer Island restaurants for the holidays.

  • Check out new restaurants and leave positive review online.

  • Organize a "dine-out day" on Mercer Island with a group.

Last week, Eater spoke with two members of the industry who were able to partially open their restaurants with a limited menu. Both called the island a "ghost town." Roberto's owner Kris Robbins says that she lost "quite a bit" of revenue from incident and that, even when the restaurant opened with a special menu, business only trickled in. She said, "It's like, ‘why even bother being here?' But we want to support the community."

Bennett's manager Ryan Shimabukuro echoed the same sentiment, adding that morale was "terrible" since, with no customers, staff were "not making any money." He conjectured that because Bellevue and Seattle restaurants are a short drive away, island residents with cars could go out to eat in a city not impacted by the water boil ban.

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