Salute’s gets lunchtime boost from Chevron Richmond employees

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Although a major construction project has been hurting Marina Bay businesses, the Italian restaurant Salute E Vita was hopping during the lunch hours Thursday.

That’s because a few dozen employees from the Chevron Richmond refinery spent their lunch breaks at Salute’s in an effort to support the restaurant during a rough patch.

Area businesses reported losses after construction started Sept. 3 on the Officer Bradley A. Moody Memorial Underpass, according to the Richmond Confidential. The construction at Marina Bay Parkway between Regatta Boulevard and Meeker Avenue is scheduled to last 18 months. The underpass will allow traffic to flow under the train tracks, thus preventing delays from passing trains.

Nearly two months after the groundbreaking, a Salute’s server told the Richmond Confidential that the restaurant had become a “ghost town” during lunch service. Employees who rely on tips were reportedly struggling.

Christian Dowell, 22, who lives near Salute’s, read the news report and thought of a way to help. A process engineer at the Chevron Richmond refinery, Dowell invited coworkers along for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, typically a quiet period for restaurants. He said he had little trouble convincing his bosses to support the effort.

“[Chevron Richmond] will support local businesses in any way,” Dowell said.

Megan Bleckinger, 33, a Point Richmond resident and area maintenance lead at the refinery, said she not only enjoyed her lunch but also the experience.

“The owner is actually my neighbor,” Bleckinger said. “I think this is a great thing. Even at the refinery we try to order lunch or coffee locally.”

Best of all, Dowell said, Salute’s was worth visiting simply for the food. He encourages residents to continue to visit the restaurant along with other businesses affected by construction.

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