Dine out. Help out.

One of Food Biker’s goals is to shed light on what we all have in common by showcasing the amazing variety of food available right here at home in the good old US of A. And while there are occasionally “food politics” that crop up in the comments and posts, sitting down at a table together and talking over a meal can really help us remember that we are all part of the same crazy stew we call the United States of America–not just red state corn dog lovers or blue state heirloom tomato growers. (Given the chance, just so you know, I happily eat both corn dogs and heirloom tomatoes as my culinary cravings transcend politics.)

Right now, though, that crazy stew we call America needs some serious TLC. Maybe you’re suffering from “Sandy fatigue”, but I urge you to do what you can to help over the next few months as the countless restaurants in the NYC/NJ area that were damaged or destroyed begin to reopen. From the highest-end haute cuisine spot, to the local pizza joint, hard-working chefs and their teams work long hours every day to keep their restaurants going. Many of them are facing spoiled food, flood damage, lost wages, and lost customers. Chef-owners already live on slim margins, and those who own a building might see some insurance payback. But most don’t and won’t—they rent a space from a landlord and may never re-open in that location if at all. But these hardworking people kicked it out every day before Sandy because they’re absolutely passionate about what they do, and they’re living their dream.

In fact, check out Pete Wells’ call to the public in today’s New York Times, in lieu of a regular restaurant review. Let’s eat, let alone let’s eat downtown!

So my charge to you: As those areas become readily accessible and people’s lives are a bit back to normal, help out by dining out.

And don’t forget to vote today!