(Updated 6:30 p.m.) Amazon has purchased 1,753 meals from Crystal City restaurant Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant (555 23rd Street S.) and donated the meals to Virginia Hospital Center.
Some of the meals were dropped off this morning, a spokesperson said, noting that while all of the meals were ordered from Freddie’s, future orders are planned for other restaurants in the tech giant’s new neighborhood.
“The whole thing has been going very smoothly,” said Freddie Lutz, the eponymous owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar. “We put together 247 lunches and 105 dinners tonight [for the first round]. We had a caravan of cars.”
Lutz said the partnership with Amazon has allowed Lutz to bring nine of his staff back to work and prepare to open the bar and restaurant for takeout and delivery, which he said he’s planning to start tomorrow (Friday).
“I have another restaurant down the street, Federico Ristorante Italiano, [which has] been open for a week,” Lutz said. “It’s not like being open [during normal times], but it’s some income. This gives us a chance to get ready for carryout and delivery. Everybody is worried about ‘can we survive, can we stay open’ but this helps.”
Nearby restaurants Young Chow and Enjera also supplied meals for the drive.
Amazon said in the press release that the goal was to both support local restaurants through the pandemic and support the hospital staff.
“Meal drop-offs like the one Amazon is making at Virginia Hospital Center allow these local restaurants to continue paying their employees and bring additional employees back to work to safely cook and deliver the meals,” the company said in a press release. “Amazon has committed to purchasing 10,000 meals in May from Arlington restaurants including Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, [Crystal City] Sports Pub, Enjera, and Urban Thai.”
Lutz said that with Amazon continuing to grow its HQ2 presence, the partnership supplying food to VHC is good practice for potentially making more food deliveries to Amazon events and employees down the road.
The press release noted that Amazon is also making food deliveries to the Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, as well as to Arlington and Alexandria firefighters.
“During this unprecedented time, Amazon is working to not only support our frontline healthcare workers and first responders across the Arlington area, but also our most vulnerable neighbors in immediate need,” said Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon. “We are proud to work alongside Freddie’s Beach Bar and Restaurant, a beloved local restaurant in our new neighborhood, to ensure that we’re thanking our neighbors who are keeping us safe and caring for our neighbors who need extra support right now with hearty meals throughout May.”
Other individuals, nonprofits and companies have donated everything from gowns to meals to Virginia Hospital Center during the pandemic.
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