Help On The Menu For Union Street Restaurants

March 16, 2023 : The Daily Item, Anthony Cammalleri

LYNN — Union Street restaurants will receive free business consulting from now until the end of June as part of MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI).

The small business management team Revby will provide consulting to the restaurants before the project’s partners — Lynn Main Streets, MassDevelopment, and the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC) — provide up to $3,000 worth of implementation assistance.

Improvements can include adjustments such as menu changes, enhanced marketing, or the implementation of online delivery services like DoorDash or UberEats. Additionally, participating restaurants will be given the opportunity to apply for a larger pool of funding to make further improvements to their businesses.

Outreach Director for the EDIC Justin de la Cruz said the initiative aims to invest in Union Street’s restaurants with the hope that their successes ripple into an economic boost for the city at-large.

De la Cruz described the ethnic diversity of restaurants on Union street as a “corridor of awesomeness” that the city hopes will attract new businesses and their employees.

The initiative, de la Cruz said, also serves as a boost to culturally-rich businesses that faced financial difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic and increased inflation.

“We help the restaurants, now people start coming into our city or continue coming into our city, especially into our downtown. So not only are those restaurants impacted, but those storefronts and those other businesses, hair salons, barber shops, they’re also now reaping the benefits of these initiatives,” de la Cruz said.

Revby workers have already met with three participating Union Street restaurants — Los Chamos Venezuelan Cuisine, Estefani’s Restaurant, and Union Cafe — for an initial consultation.

Los Chamos’ owner Manuel Rendon said that Revby consultants stopped by his restaurant last Tuesday. They suggested he install a new roof ventilation system to eliminate food odors that seep into the dining area. Rendon said he’s currently putting together a funding proposal for the new system.

“The city is really helping to move this forward, and I hope to actually see funding for small restaurants,” Rendon said.

EntreDupe Consulting founder and Lynn Main Streets Board Member Drew Duperval is one of the project’s main leads. In a written statement, Duperval said that by supporting culturally diverse restaurants on Union Street, the initiative is tapping into one of the city’s defining assets: its cultural diversity.

“Our cultural meals are part of what makes Lynn so diverse and inclusive,” Duperval said. “Through this project, we’ll be able to provide capital and business assistance to several Union Street restaurants because we recognize that these businesses and spaces are essential to Lynn’s identity.”