Facebook group helps support eateries during pandemic
Santa Barbara Foodies was started last March by Jon Gilkeson, who grew up in Santa Barbara and is now a local real-estate agent.
The Santa Barbara native is very familiar with what is happening in the area.
“When everything shut down because of the pandemic, I was looking for a way to help small businesses. I found that restaurants were hit really hard, so I started Santa Barbara Foodies as a Facebook group to promote their menu items and takeout options to help them get back on their feet,” he told the News-Press.
The group’s members, who now number about 400, support their favorite local restaurants by sharing menus, favorite dishes, daily specials and updated operating hours with each other to help drive new business.
“Many local mom and pop businesses have struggled to stay open during the pandemic,” said Mr. Gilkeson, a graduate of San Marcos High School in 2006 and Long Beach State University In 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.
“As businesses begin to reopen, we’ve turned the focus of our group to supporting these restaurants by helping them drive business. We want to show them that our network of foodies stands behind them during the hard times and the good.”
One of the ways he gets the word out is with Zoom interviews with local restaurant owners, chefs and caterers. Among them are Convivo, Milk and Honey, Kyle’s Kitchen, Opal, Satellite SB and Cold Springs Tavern.
“Members can repost the videos so more people can watch them,” said Mr. Gilkeson. “We also promote special events and new food items. For example, Hook and Press Donuts featured a Vanilla Rainbow Pride donut, where a portion of the sales went to the Pacific Pride Foundation.”
Foodies are passionate about good food and trying new dishes, according to Mr. Gilkeson, who describes himself as a “part-time foodie.”
“I’m a big grill master — barbecued ribs, steaks, burgers. My favorite meal is stuffed peppers, corn on the cob and a caesar salad,” he said.
When the bachelor dines out, he can be found at Ca Dario, Los Arroyos,
Loquita, Zaytoon and Bibi Ji.
“Santa Barbara is a great place for good food with the wine country nearby and organic farmers. When tourists come here, they want to enjoy the cuisine,” he said. “We frequently get questions about the best places to eat or where to get a good steak or burrito.”
An avid beach volleyball player, Mr. Gilkeson enjoys camping and hiking, especially with his new pet, Jackson, a 10-month-old Golden Retriever.