MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) – After a tough year, the chefs at Fuzio Universal Bistro in Modesto are once again serving up international cuisine indoors.
Owner Thomas Lopes says things are looking up now that the county is back in the red their and they can resume indoor dining.
He adds that Paycheck Protection Program loans and grants kept the doors open, but he credits Modesto’s Relief Across Downtown Card program for bringing people back.
“It’s really been beneficial. It’s brought in revenue, revenue into the restaurant,” said Owner Thomas Lopes. “It’s also taking people that maybe haven’t been here or somewhere in the downtown area and brought them down here.”
The Downtown Modesto Partnership created the Relief Across Downtown program, or RAD Card program. It’s a digital gift card that is bought online and matches your money dollar-for-dollar to be spent at the restaurants, retailers and salons downtown.
“People got such a good deal. You know for $100, you’re only paying $50,” Lopes said. “For the service staff, it’s been really lucrative. Their tips and gratuities have been a lot larger.”
The original program first launched last year and was funded by donors.
Modesto City Council recently approved $650,000 to continue the program after initial funds had run out.
“I think it’s amazing. This is a really big deal,” Lopes said.
Lopes is one of many downtown business owners who advocated for bringing the RAD Card program back to help small businesses recover going forward.
He says it’s important the city continues to focus on maintaining a robust downtown.
“The diversity of the different restaurants, and the culture and the people downtown is really the heart of I think any city,” Lopes said.
The Modesto RAD Card program is expected to resume either in late May or early June.
After watching the program’s success, San Joaquin County is putting a million dollars into its own RAD Card program, which will be able to be used countywide.
San Joaquin County’s program is expected to begin early next month.