By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul is on a mission to support restaurants and breweries hit hard during the pandemic.

#DineSaintPaul” is a new marketing campaign to show off the diverse selection of restaurants in the Capitol City, while encouraging the public to support them.

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Since 1979, El Burrito Mercado has been a big part of the St. Paul community, but business almost came to a halt when COVID-19 hit, according to co-owner Milissa Silva.

“We were more than 50% down in sales for sure,” Silva said.

She says she’s one of the lucky ones.

“If El Burrito did not start out having the mercado and the deli … I don’t know that we’d be here,” Silva said.

Grateful to still be open, Silva knows how important it is to get people back inside and enjoying a meal. That’s why she is signing on to take part in #DineSaintPaul. The campaign is largely a digital effort, encouraging support through dine-in, dine-out, takeout and delivery.

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(credit: CBS)

By registering at DineSaintPaul.com, you will get a weekly email with restaurant suggestions, and be entered for a chance to win a daily restaurant gift card.

“I love that they’re doing this in a fun way,” Silva said. “The campaign is obviously to help businesses revitalize … and bring new customers, but also they make it fun and interactive for the customer.”

These restaurants hope people take time to explore the local food scene. Nicolle Goodman, St. Paul’s director of planning and economic development, says using that hashtag can get you featured on Visit Saint Paul’s social media.

“Go to your local restaurant, take a picture, put on your social media #DineSaintPaul,” Goodman said.

It will take everyone to help rebuild the local economy, and the City of St. Paul knows local restaurants are a critical part to ensuring the city’s ongoing vitality.

“Any kind of visit to a restaurant, via indoors if you’re comfortable, or carry out, and … just promoting that and supporting the local restaurants and the economy,” Goodman said.

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St. Paul’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority partnered with Visit St. Paul to as launch #DineSaintPaul Tuesday. The campaign runs through spring.

Reg Chapman