Miami OK to celebrate Oklahoma Restaurant Days

Miami OK to celebrate Oklahoma Restaurant Days

Posted on 09/30/2020

Fall in love…again is the new campaign, organized by the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and the Oklahoma Department of Tourism to encourage residents and visitors alike to “fall in love” with Oklahoma restaurants.


The days, Oct. 1 to 3, encourages patrons to find new ways to support their favorite local restaurant, either through the purchase of dine-in, utilizing outdoor seating, or ordering carry-out or delivery. 


It’s all part of an effort to help drive dollars back into the coffers of local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and help bring back local tourism dollars.


“This joint project is an effective way to remind Oklahomans to dine local,” said Oklahoma Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell. “My hope is this campaign helps small business owners across our state.”


Pinnell said the pandemic has placed the tourism industry – and with-it restaurants which rely on those dollars – into “a depression, not a recession.”


“Oklahoma is one of the most sales tax-dependent states in the country, so it’s one more reason to support our local restaurants,” Pinnell said. 


For Jim Hopper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, the effort has a two-fold impact: first, it helps drive dollars back into the coffers of local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and second, it reminds people young and old, that local restaurants need help to remain in existence.


During the six-week period from the latter part of March, through April, Hopper estimates Oklahoma restaurants lost $5 million in sales. At least 65,000 Oklahoma restaurant employees have been part of a COVID-19-related lay-off. 


In August, Hopper said, 84 percent of Oklahoma restaurants operators said their sales volume was less this year, than August 0f 2019. 


At least 55 percent indicated they don’t expect sales to return to pre-pandemic levels within the next six months, Hopper continued, while 40 percent do not expect to see staffing levels return to normal within the same period. 


“We won’t know the full effect of this, until we are on the other side,” Hopper said, adding he anticipates the restaurant landscape will change drastically in the state if current trends continue.


“There will be a whole lot fewer restaurants,” Hopper said. “We just don’t know how many yet are going to make it.”


Encouraging business

Hopper said the campaign fulfills the restaurant association’s role as an advocate for the industry. 


“We want to create a positive message to the public,” he said. “There’s an unfortunate narrative that restaurants are dangerous places to eat because of COVID.”


With restaurants following current health and safety protocols, he believes people can safely dine at restaurants or purchase food via delivery or carryout without worry.


“Restaurants are struggling,” Hopper said. “We need to do everything we can to build them up. You may not be ready to eat inside yet, but you could order carry out or delivery – there’s multiple ways to help your favorite restaurant.”


He even encourages the purchase of gift cards – which can be used as gifts, or at a later date. 


“We just hope this weekend brings a renewed interest and a renewed awareness that restaurants are suffering, and there are a lot of ways to support them,” Hopper said. “We hope people will take advantage of it.” 


Local impact

Locally, Miami-area restaurants are among those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 


In the last few weeks, Souper Sweets, a bakery and restaurant on Main Street went out of business – its owners citing the pandemic for the closure.


“Our local restaurants need our support now more than ever – whether it be dine-in, carry out or delivery,” explained Miami Mayor Bless Parker. “We encourage restaurant owners to reach out and let us know before it’s too late.”


He said those who are not comfortable dining in, may utilize the Delivuh App as a local food delivery option.  There are also additional options locally with delivery options that can be utilized. 


“Our local restaurants count on the community for support,” Parker said. “Without community spending dollars in our local restaurants and businesses, many of them can’t and won’t survive. 


“So instead of going to Joplin, Tulsa or NWA to eat and spend our dollars, it is extremely important to eat here and support our restaurants.”


Coinciding with this weekend’s Fall In Love … Again campaign, is the Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Fest. Parker said he hopes people will find ways to support the community businesses.


“It would be a great time to get out, enjoy the events and eat at one of our many restaurants,” Parker said. “We need to support one another to get through this. If we do, we’ll be stronger in the end.”


Parker said he plans to eat out at local restaurants this weekend, and use various delivery services including the Delivuh App. 


He’s also tasked a member of the city to visit local restaurants, to hear first-hand any issues or struggles the owners may have because of the pandemic.


“We want to work with them to develop a plan to increase business,” Parker said. “As a city, we are dedicated to our local restaurants and businesses.  We will be rolling out a new initiative “Love Local” and businesses can reach out to our tourism department for more information.”


For more information on "Love Local", contact CVB Executive Director Amanda Davis at 918-542-4435 or by email at  


Miami has more than 500 hotel rooms located conveniently off Interstate 44 and Route 66.  With numerous national chains, Miami is the perfect stop for business, family and fun.  Register your group with the CVB and receive special assistance with rates, catering and everything in between. 


Northeast Oklahoma is full of great entertainment! Visit our upcoming calendar of events for a full line-up of activities happening in the Miami area.