For Hailey software engineer Julian Cook, watching his friends in the restaurant industry suffer blows dealt by COVID-19—little to no foot traffic, closures, employee loss—has been particularly devastating.

With his new website, Wrvfood.com, Cook hopes to offset some of that pain.

“I thought, ‘There has to be some way for people to know how and where they can order,’” he said. “I didn’t really see any cohesive community effort in that regard.”

With a motto of “Feeding You Through The Quarantine,” Wood River Food currently lists around 50 restaurants and bars from Sun Valley to Bellevue and provides updated ordering instructions, hours of service and social media links for each.

Cook estimated that at least 25 more establishments will be added to the website once he can confirm ordering and takeout details with their owners.

“It’s been time-consuming to track every restaurant down, so I appreciate every owner who’s reached out,” he said.

The self-described foodie said he’s taken a break from building his current recipe website, flavorsci.com, to focus on wrvfood.com. While the website is nowhere near its final format, he said it should do the job.

In the next week, Cook hopes to set up servers for restaurants that aren’t as technologically savvy—enabling them to log on to the site and take online orders.

“Most restaurants here are small. Many don’t have an online presence or update their Facebook pages,” Cook said. “I’m not saying technology can save these places, but it could really help. Right now it’s just about trying to keep these guys in business.”

Owners are encouraged to add their restaurants, bars or cafés to Wood River Food by emailing wrvfood@gmail.com with their contact info, hours of service, and take-out instructions.

“At the end of the day, we’re all in this,” Cook said.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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