In response to the devastating economic effects of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Near East Area Renewal (NEAR), with support of the IndyEast Promise Zone, initiated an interactive campaign from November 9th to the 22nd to increase traffic for food and beverage establishments in the Near Eastside. Event participants were instructed to purchase a meal from a Near Eastside restaurant, take a picture of their meal, and share it on social media using #NearEastEats. All entry posts were entered into a raffle for local small business gift cards.

The event was a huge success, with a tremendous amount of support from 15 partners, restaurants, and organizations. Out of 87 posts from the two-week-long campaign,  over 30 individuals participated in the virtual event and shared their meals from over 29 restaurants, bars, and breweries in the neighborhood. While some participants picked their go-to favorite meals, other participants tried menu items for the first time,  Facebook user posted their praises of Tlaoli’s 100 habaneros salsa “whoooeeee, it is hot and good”. A Twitter user said that “sometimes I can’t decide [King Dough] wings or pizza and I have to get both”. Many participants were also excited to participate in #NearEastEats celebrating the re-opening of Rabble Coffee on 10th Street. These establishments, along with many others in the neighborhood, create an original and one-of-a-kind experience defining them as important assets and unique to the Near Eastside community.

The Top 5 Winners have been announced and each won a $40 gift card to their favorite Near Eastside restaurant.  

Shopping, eating, and drinking locally has meaningful effects for communities because dollars spent locally can then be re-spent locally, directly increasing economic activity which reaps many benefits for residents. In fact, $73 out of $100 spent locally is retained locally, whereas only $43 is retained when spent in a non-local business. While COVID-19 continues, causing greater economic precarity across the nation, it is imperative that people continue to purchase locally.

Below is a list of restaurants and bars in the Near Eastside where you can eat and drink: