Pierce County restaurant once struggling during pandemic, now paying it forward

PUYALLUP, Wash. — A Pierce County restaurant once struggling to get by is now giving back in a major way.

Over the past five years, Bourbon Street Creole Kitchen and Bar has become a Puyallup staple. People love their authentic po' boys, and shrimp and grits.

Lately, the statewide shutdown has hurt the Pierce County restaurant. Owner Mike de Alwis said they're down nearly 70 percent.

He once worried they may close, but then his community came calling.

"I've had people calling me and telling me, ‘Mike, what can we do? What can we do to help you?’" said de Alwis.

Families stopped by for food, companies ordered huge carry out orders and people purchased gift cards.

Thinking about the support nearly brought de Alwis to tears.

"I think we are here because of the people today, if the people hadn’t come here, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.

To show his gratitude, de Alwis decided to pay it forward by making hot meals for families who can't afford to go out to eat.

The restaurant's taking nominations on social media.

They plan to cook at least 100 meals and hand out 25 dinners a week for four weeks.

"That's really going the extra mile, in my humble opinion. It just makes me love them more,” said customer Ann Francis.

Bourbon Street hopes others follow suit so Puyallup can come out of the pandemic stronger than ever before.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel, so hopefully it'll all work out well for us,” said de Alwis.

The restaurant will begin handing out 25 meals to families April 28.

To nominate someone in need, you can contact Bourbon Street Creole Kitchen and Bar on Facebook or Instagram.