Food builds community
By Jon Garvin, Kai Lock, Ethan Sheppy, Skylar Peters and Malia Vaea
Walking through Redwood City, you notice a bunch of smiling faces, people quickly getting from place to place, and, most importantly, many restaurants that have become a staple in the local community. These local restaurants have become a major factor in allowing Redwood City to come together as a community.
We decided to spotlight local restaurants in the city’s bustling downtown. We interviewed workers at restaurants such as Teaquation, Quinto Sol, Cafe la Tartine, Cyclismo Cafe and Green Leaf Bistro to answer the question: How have local Redwood City restaurants established themselves and built a community around their food?
Workers offered various perspectives on how difficult it was to build a community and different strategies for reaching out to the customers. For example, the manager of Quinto Sol, Jose Martinez, said he didn’t face many problems in building a community and that “the whole city welcomed us really well.”
Though building a sense of community around a local business can seem like a fun job, there are many struggles that come with the task. Restaurants can face many different types of obstacles related to community needs.
The co-owner of Cyclismo Cafe, Jihan Bayyari, had a lot to say about the difficulties she’s faced while working at her restaurant. Restaurants can face these difficulties because they try very hard to respond to customer feedback and constantly try to improve their sense of community.
The manager of Green Leaf Bistro, Betty Gayez, has faced some problems involving the food. She stated, “For sure, I’d say not a crazy amount of struggle, but you have people coming in that are allergic to this and that and this and you have to make sure that we take care of these little things. We work on the products more and more so that next time we do work on a new menu, or update it, we make sure that these items are taken care of.”
Different restaurants also help host or contribute to various types of events. Mr. Martinez said that Quinto Sol impacts the community by “helping with every single thing that there is, like things at the plaza, with the community like Dia de Los Muertos and other festivities.”
Ms. Bayyari stated, “We host lots of different events. So everything from a community hike, we do a bike ride; we do bike swap meets; we do a paint night once a month. So hosting different community events is what makes people come and start to meet each other.”
Mercedes Mapua, the owner of Teaquation, has done different things with the community as well, such as working with non-profits. Ms. Mapua also added, “We’ve worked with a school as well. We have yet to [do] one this year yet, but hopefully soon. Definitely want to connect with the Redwood locals.”
After interviewing five local restaurants, we noticed how much pride and love they have for their community. They contribute in all the ways they can and help build the sense of community in Redwood City immensely. They positively affect our community by helping bring more and more people together. Together they build unity and pride within our city.
To experience the five different restaurants mentioned, check out our video here:
Click here to see a story map with all the featured restaurants.