Affordable

Ava Cerasoli, who works at the Healdsburg Inn, picks up her discounted to-go lunch from The Taste of Tea.

The Taste of Tea Lounge, which opened in March, is offering discounted to-go lunches to Healdsburg employees. It’s called the Healdsburg Employee Recognition Opportunity, or H.E.R.O. The program’s goal is to make eating and working in Healdsburg fast, convenient and affordable, and to get people to want to work in town.

“I think that it’s something that the town needs. I know what it’s like to work here, park here and try to find reasonable places to eat. Anything that makes it easier for people working in Healdsburg is great,” said Tai Tokugawa, The Taste of Tea’s general manager and the owners’ daughter.

Donna Tokugawa, who owns The Taste of Tea with her husband, Nez, started the program three weeks ago. The program allows Healdsburg employees to get a meal and iced tea to-go for $10 plus tax. Right now the meal choice is ramen. The ramen comes in two options: regular and skinny, which has no calories and fewer carbs. Donna said that ramen is the most popular dish at The Taste of Tea.

Here’s how it works. Any employee in the city of Healdsburg can pick up a H.E.R.O. card from The Taste of Tea, get the card signed by their employer and then call in their order and request a pick-up time, presenting their card at pick-up. Some businesses already have the cards, and employees just need to ask for one and get it filled out.

Donna said she had the idea as a result of trying to recruit employees by making it appealing to work in Healdsburg. “I’m hoping that other businesses will want to participate in something similar,” Donna said. She said that when local businesses focus on their employees, it helps foster a sense of the business environment.

Donna said that the program has three regulars and that there are around 100 H.E.R.O. cards currently out around town. The Tokugawas plan to continue offering $10 to-go meals with tea. The meal choice will change from time to time. Most of the food at The Taste of Tea is infused with tea. All of the food has an Asian flair, primarily Japanese.

The Taste of Tea is located at 109 North Street next to Raven Performing Arts. It is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The H.E.R.O. program is on Facebook under “Healdsburg HERO.”

Administrative Assistant for the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce Aleena Decker said “The Taste of Tea’s H.E.R.O. program is a delicious treat. They are one example of how our local businesses want to support our local residents and workforce.”

Decker said that there have been other restaurants that have offered “great” deals for lunch, including Café Lucia and Taverna Sofia.

Café Lucia is currently running a daily deal for $1 oysters and $5 bubbles from 5-6 p.m. and Taverna Sofia still offers a Thursday $10 special for a gyro sandwich and fries. The Downtown Bakery & Creamery makes a selection of thick sandwiches every day for $5.

One way for local businesses and residents to keep an eye out for similar deals is to check out the chamber’s Hot Deals page on www.healdsburg.com. Some deals are only visible to chamber members through their online account.

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