GOLETA, Calif. - With a phone full of messages, John Dickson is putting together an ever-growing list of take-out and to-go restaurants during the coronavirus disaster.
"I have been contacted by a tremendous number of restaurant owners all across the South Coast, Goleta to Carpinteria and out to the Santa Ynez Valley, basically asking me to let people know that they are still in business and while they don't offer dine-in service, they offer take-out and in many cases delivered," said Dickson.
In just a few days 150 restaurants have been listed.
Sitting at a table inside the Los Agaves restaurant working on his laptop, he said many restaurants have discounts with their offers.
The call by Governor Gavin Newsom and local leaders to reduce public gathering, including at restaurants, has forced some to close. Others are trying to keep going with the take-out offers.
He is posting them with a quick turn around on SantaBarbara.com.
"I woke up this morning with about 50 emails in my inbox," said Dickson. "There are a lot of difficult messages from restaurant owners because this is their staple, this is their lifeblood, this is their business. I'm posting them as fast as I can."
The messages have been coming in at a time when customers might think these businesses are closed, but he says, of those that are set up for this new business plan, they are open. "They want people to know that," he said. "I am set up to handle that."
He says he had an assortment of responses including discount offers, special menus and specific hours.
The site is easy to navigate and also lists the most popular delivery services for restaurants and grocery stores.
Since he added this special tab of information, he has had thousands of hits.
Dickson has a column in the Santa Barbara Independent as The Restaurant Guy and owns SantaBarbara.com.
He is widely known as the go-to person for restaurant openings, closings and specials. The site does not do reviews or judge a restaurant or its food with any rating service.