Facebook groups drive support to local restaurants in northwest Houston areas

Cisco's Salsa Company in Tomball offers food to-go. (April Halpin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Cisco's Salsa Company in Tomball offers food to-go. (April Halpin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Cisco's Salsa Company in Tomball offers food to-go. (April Halpin/Community Impact Newspaper)

As local eateries face weeks ahead of no dine-in service amid the coronavirus outbreak, local Facebook groups are stepping up to drive support to the small businesses.

Nick Rama, founder of Nick's Local Eats, a public Facebook group launched seven years ago—and subgroups Tomball/Vintage Park Eateries and Spring/Woodlands Eateries—said his Facebook groups have given small businesses a platform to share their curbside pickup and to-go services all in one place. Rama also launched gift card giveaways March 19, encouraging members of the Facebook groups to support local eateries and take a photo of their to-go or delivery food to be entered to win a gift card that can be used at a later date for dining in at a participating local restaurant.

"It's giving the small businesses a platform to let people know, 'Yes, we are open," he said in mid-March, referring to the Facebook groups.

The Nick's Local Eats group members are no strangers to meeting community needs, Rama said. Rama said the community via 30 local restaurants came together during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to feed about 20,000 people in two weeks.

However, supporting local eateries amid the state and county dine-in restrictions looks differently.

"I don't think it's come together quite as fast yet [as Harvey]," he said. "This so different because people are hunkering down and we're trying to figure out what we can do. Right now it's just trying to get the message out what restaurants are open and how to order and where to pick up."

Rama said the Tomball/Vintage Park Eateries group is the most active with more than 10,000 members.

"We're hoping for the best. Our groups are mainly surrounding just trying to help the mom-and-pops who don't have the advertising budgets," he said. "[We're] trying to help support these mom-and-pops because 2 weeks [of no dine-in customers] to them is probably three months to a corporate giant."

Houston Eats To-Go also launched in late March to help get word out about local restaurants remaining open in the Houston area, according to Rocquel Lewis, marketing director for the Michele Harmon Team, a real estate team creating the Facebook group.

The real estate team created the group to give Houstonians a way to support their local restaurant community, according to Lewis.

As of April 1, the group had grown to more than 1,600 members.

The Woodlands Spring, TX. Foodie Club, a private Facebook group, is also hosting a fundraiser for The Foodie Club Support Group, a public group created for restaurants to share available services and so-called "foodies" to search places to support amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to group information. The support group is selling shirts with proceeds supporting employees and owners in the food industry in need, according to fundraiser information.
By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball | Magnolia & Conroe | Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball|Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.


Montgomery County's COVID-19 recoveries sit at 8,403, according to the county health department. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
See Montgomery County's weekly COVID-19 case count for Oct. 13-19

The county has made progress on its backlog of cases initially reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services by health care providers.

Voters wait in line at a Cy-Fair polling location Oct. 16. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County ballot totals approach 630,000 in first six days of early voting

Ballot counts have averaged about 100,000 daily. Twelve days of early voting remain before the Nov. 3 general election.

A total of 10 polling places are now open throughout the county for early voting. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 76,000 ballots cast in Montgomery County through first 5 days of early voting

While the total outpaces the count through the fifth day of early voting from previous general elections, the county's voter turnout percentage so far is lower than in 2012 and 2016.

Amazon's new sorting center is now open at 22525 Clay Road, Katy. The 800,000-square-foot building opened Oct. 9. (Courtesy Amazon.com Inc.)
Amazon center in Katy to bring 3K jobs and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

An election official directs a car to a spot at the Humble Civic Center's drive-thru voting location. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Drive-thru voting locations in Harris County see greater numbers than in-person, despite challenges

More than 42,000 residents in Harris County have used the drive-thru centers so far in early voting.

Artists local to the Magnolia area have covered the buildings in murals since the spring, which have now become popular photo backgrounds for community members.
Neglected buildings birth artistic gathering space known as The Grounds 1488

The Magnolia-based nonprofit is hosting its first fall festival Oct. 24 with vendors selling handmade goods, food trucks, live music, a children's business fair, an art show and fall activities. Proceeds go to support the rehabilitation of the artistic space.

The outlet mall is located in Cypress. (Courtesy Houston Premium Outlets)
Outlet mall in Cy-Fair opens 3 new stores and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular news form the past week from our Houston coverage area.

Electronics repair service provider Paragon Geeks opened at 22625 Hwy. 249, Ste. 140, Tomball, on July 15. (Courtesy Paragon Geeks)
ROUNDUP: Six businesses coming soon, now open or celebrating anniversaries in the Tomball-Magnolia area

From electronics repair to home decor, here are six business updates to the Tomball, Magnolia area.

The Northwest Houston Vettes and Rods will be hosting its second Corvettes for Cops event in support of police officers Oct. 17. (Courtesy Northwest Houston Vettes and Rods)
Here are some virtual, in-person events going on in Tomball, Magnolia this weekend, Oct. 16-18

From virtual walks in the park to corvette cruises, here are some weekend events for area residents.