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Effort to soften economic impacts of pandemic
dining game

When businesses in Lathrop were given the green light to reopen, city leaders were concerned that people were going to feel more comfortable at home rather than out in public supporting the local economy.

So, they came up with a plan to encourage residents to visit locally-owned restaurants and help provide an economic boost to a community.

Since then, the “Flavor, Forks, and Fun” program – which presents residents with a stamp game book and allows them to get stamps every time they dine at a different restaurant that they can turn in to potentially win gift certificates or other prizes from the participating businesses –  has been going like gangbusters.

“The City Manager wanted staff to come up with a way to encourage folks to get out, and they came up with this idea – we have 23 businesses that are participating, and the more stamps that people turn in, the higher the likelihood that they’ll win one of the prizes,” said Lathrop Parks and Recreation Director Zach Jones. “It gives people the chance to go to a restaurant that they might not have been to, and so far, people seem to be responding to it.”

In order to get people interested in participating, the city has mailed one of the game cards – which already hasa free stamp that can be entered into the drawing – to every home in the city. It has distributed game cards at each of the participating restaurants and online where they can be downloaded and printed.

All of the game cards must be submitted by July 10 in order to be eligible for the drawing.

While no decision has been made yet, Jones said that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that a second round of the game could be provided – especially if the public responds to the game in the way that they have.

“We’re willing to anything and everything that we can do in order to help our city come back from this – maybe there were businesses the first time that missed out that we’re able to include with the new game,” Jones said. “I was personally impressed with the plan that staff came up with for this game and think that it’s a great way to promote our local restaurants and what they bring to the community.

“This is about making sure that they remain here – it takes a village, and we’re hoping that this is a step towards achieving that.”

Participating restaurants and businesses include Baskin Robbins, China Wok, Chicago’s Pizza, Dickey’s BBQ, La Hacienda Taqueria, Little Caesars Pizza, Mikasa Japanese Bistro, Milan’s Pizza, MX Donuts, Subway, Amici Sushi, Krispy Krunchy Chicken, La Costa de Acapulco, Mountain Mike’s Pizza, Quiznos, Taqueria Vallarta, Togo’s, Deli Delicious, Domino’s Pizza, Mango Crazy, Siena Italian Restaurant, Denise’s Farmers Market, and the Boathouse. To pick up a game card, visit any of the participating restaurants or businesses or visit the City of Lathrop’s website at or the Lathrop Parks and Recreation Department website at


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.