by Mabel Suen
In recent years, coupons have made a huge comeback for the dining industry, invading every corner of the Internet and encouraging budget-conscious diners to eat out more often. The advent of these lunch and dinner deals has only become a commodity recently, but Saint Louis Originals, a collaborative effort of independently owned and operated restaurants, has been offering discounted gift certificates and rewards since 2002 on a local and original level.
"Saint Louis Originals started out as a part of a national organization," says current Saint Louis Originals president and restaurateur Paul Hamilton. "We banded together to compete and stand up to chain restaurants and also to get a group of culinary professionals together to collaborate on problems of the industry and solutions for our community."
The organization now operates independently as a nonprofit entity, elevating the importance of dining at independently owned restaurants and businesses while promoting and showcasing the current generation of small businesses in the St. Louis area community and abroad.
Patrons can register for a Saint Louis Originals rewards card at any of more than 30 participating local restaurants, including Schlafly Bottleworks, the Scottish Arms, Serendipity Ice Cream, Companion Bakehouse and Hamilton's restaurants Vin de Set and PW Pizza . For every 150 points earned on the card, $10 in credit becomes available for use at any restaurant involved, including several other Midwest chapters such as restaurants in Kansas City, Louisville and Birmingham.
"If you're traveling in any of those markets, you can use that card to get rewards from those restaurants," says Hamilton. The points also accumulate into larger rewards. A monthly newsletter about different happenings at Saint Louis Originals restaurants including cooking classes, wine tastings and more is also offered to members. Gift certificates available for purchase are eligible toward any Saint Louis Original restaurant.
To learn how to become a member of Saint Louis Originals and to reap the benefits of discounted gift certificates and more, visit Saint Louis Originals' web site.