WASHINGTON (WDVM) — As Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vaccine requirement went into effect in the District, one restaurant, Immigrant Food, got creative about embracing the order. The restaurant planned a COVID-19 Vaccine themed brunch while raising money for Mary’s Center at the same time. 

The restaurant called it a vaccine celebration.

Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Immigrant Food, Tea Ivanovic, said, “We wanted to celebrate the vaccines, the science behind the vaccines and also the mandate Mayor Bowser put in.” 

The themed brunch had a one-of-a-kind menu that let patrons “vaccinate” their food and drinks. Ivanovic explained, “We had a duo of burgers, really amazing blue burgers with blue cheese, and we had a syringe with ketchup inside, so you could ‘vaccinate’ your french fries.” While waiting to top off their meals with “vaccinations,” patrons could read cards on their tables with information about immigrant scientists who made vaccines possible, as well as more information about Mary’s Center.

Peter Schechter, Co-founder of Immigrant Food, added, “We wanted to celebrate the two women, but also to be able to give back to the community in ways that were really tangible.”

Ten percent of the brunch proceeds went to Mary’s Center. The local non-profit offers wrap around healthcare services to underserved communities in D.C. and Maryland.

Dr. Tollie B. Elliott, Sr., Chief Executive Officer of Mary’s Center, said, “Every cent counts. It can pay for an ultrasound. It can pay for a visit. It can pay for a child’s vaccination. It can pay for a lot of different things.”

So while offering a delicious, unique experience is important to Immigrant Foods, their overall mission of serving the community with advocacy is important, too.

Schechter said, “I think it’s really important that not only non-profits engage with community related and social justice issues, but businesses have to do it too. Not only big businesses, small businesses.”

The mission impacts the community at large, even if it is with something fun, like a celebratory brunch.

Heather Morgan, Chief Development Officer at Mary’s Center, said, “Immigrant Food has embraced the immigrant community here in D.C. and we do the very same through our services.”

The owners do not have any plans to hold another vaccine celebration brunch, but host events at the restaurant often.