COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) — After months of slow business, Columbia County restaurant owners are hoping for a boost. 16 restaurants are participating in the community’s inaugural Restaurant Week. It could not have come at a better time.
“In any community, there’s always a slow time of the year, especially for the service industry,” Russell Lahodny, the Columbia County Chamber’s President and CEO, explains. “January happens to be that time of the year for us here in Columbia County.”
Lisa Khativ tells NewsChannel 6 business has been steady at her restaurant Laziza Mediterranean Grill. They offer dine-in, delivery and curbside pick-up, and opened up a second location in Downtown Augusta in 2020.
“We wanted to bring awareness that restaurants are open,” she says. “We have a pandemic going on, but we are open for business.”
A few doors down from Laziza’s Evans location, Manoj Parameswara and his team are busy cooking Indian street food at his restaurant, Namaste. He can not stress enough how important it is for the community to support local restaurants right now.
“We are doing whatever we can to get more people to come in and enjoy our food,” he says. “It’s a local restaurant. Supporting local is very important.”
When people eat or order out, they are also supporting restaurants’ staff. According to the Columbia County Chamber, the restaurant industry maakes up 13 percent of the county’s jobs.
“You’re talking about just over 20,000 jobs that are supported by us in the community going to restaurants,” Lahodny says.
Everyone who dines at one of the participating restaurants is encouraged to take a photo and post it on social media with #ColumbiaCountyEats.