Support Local Restaurants with Help from UCD!

Customers dine at Renata's Kitchen
Mar 15, 2020 11 months ago

Please note: We've added new details to hopefully clear up some confusion over how this promotion will work. We are asking customers to support local restaurants by purchasing gift cards for personal use, and then UCD will also purchase gift cards that we will use in future promotions and giveaways and double your support up to $250 per restaurant. All accounting will happen between the restaurant and UCD. 

University City's rich and diverse restaurant scene is facing a unique challenge as we all struggle to deal with the impact of the coronavirus. During these trying times, many local restaurants and eateries are suffering reduced business or facing temporary closures. University City District wants to help local restaurants, local employees, and the public by offering our support through a limited time promotion.

Through Tuesday, March 31st, 2020, UCD will join you in supporting local restaurants by purchasing up to $250 in gift cards per participating restaurant to match customer purchases. UCD will keep the gift cards to use in future promotions and giveaways, and the restaurant keeps the additional revenue. All customers need to do is purchase a gift card at any of the participating restaurants below--UCD will work directly with restaurants to track sales through March 31st, and purchase gift cards to match the total sales, up to $250 per restaurant.   

To put it simply:

  • Support your favorite restaurants by purchasing gift cards to use later. More restaurants are signing up each day. If you contact a local restaurant and they haven't signed up, please tell them to reach out to us! 
  • If a restaurant opts-in to our program and provides us gift card sales receipts, UCD will purchase as much as $250 in gift cards per restaurant to match your purchases, which we will use in future promotions and giveaways.
  • The goal of this program is to inject revenue into local restaurants during this tumultuous time. We encourage you to continue purchasing gift cards even if the $250 number has been reached. 
  • UCD will work with each restaurant to track sales and purchase the cards at the conclusion of the program. 


Purchasing a gift card from a favorite local restaurant or coffee shop is a great way to show your support and help keep favorite local eateries in business during these difficult times. Customers must contact restaurants directly to see if gift cards may be purchased online or via the phone. We recommend using Yelp to find contact info for local restaurants, or view a list of restaurants we partnered with in the past through Dining Days

This promotion is open to all independent restaurants, coffee shops, and chains with fewer than 10 total locations that operate within our district (from the Schuylkill River to 50th Street, and generally speaking Woodland Avenue to Spring Garden). Although this current promotion is aimed at helping local eateries, please remember that all local businesses, from barbershops to nail salons to pet stores to gift shops and everything in between, are in need of support right now. Please consider purchasing gift cards from all of the businesses that contribute to the overall vibrancy of our wonderful neighborhood.

Participating Restaurants 



I am interested in supporting the local restaurants/businesses by purchasing gift cards in conjunction with the UCD matching. Please let me know how I can do this as I am unable to locate on this website. Thanks!

What about Vientiane on Baltimore Ave?

We have reached out to them and are waiting for them to opt-in. Even if you buy gift cards from them or other businesses before they have officially signed up, we will reimburse them as long as they provide receipts after 3/31.

Will you let us know about Booker’s? Many of us who frequent the restaurant know the owner and waitstaff/bartenders and would love to support. Thank you!

Although Booker's is technically outside of our coverage area we will include them if they opt-in to the program before the 31st and we still have room in our budget.

Ahh, I misunderstood the initial blog post and text message. I thought that UCD was matching my gift card purchases, so if I bought a $25 gift card to a restaurant, UCD would give me another $25 gift card to that same restaurant. My cash flow is very low with this current situation, so I don't think I can participate, if that's how it's structured. :(
It costs the same to UCD either way, but instead the money goes to future giveaways instead of being used to help local UCD residents who are, themselves, struggling.

Hello Erin. Email us at [email protected] with "Gift Card Purchase" as the subject.

Hi. Just to confirm the process. I reach out to the Restaurant and request a gift card of "X" amount of dollars. I am allowed to go as high as I would like but the price match will stop at $250.
The restaurant will work with UCD in regards of the gift card.
Do I received the matched gift card or does that go back to the restaurant.

Thanks for the question, Kenny. Our price matching for each restaurant is capped at $250 for now so that we don't overextend our own budget. If we can add more later we will update. The gift card you purchase is yours, and will be matched by gift card purchases by UCD that we'll use in future giveaways. Either way, each restaurant that sells at least $250 in gift cards will receive an additional $250 in purchases from UCD.

Possible to include the White Dog Cafe ( in the participating restaurants. A lot of the UPenn grad students love the place.

They just signed up under the Fearless Restaurants group!

How do we buy gift cards from restaurants that are closed e.g. Grindcore X Crust? Thanks.

You will need to reach out to them directly to ask about purchasing gift cards.

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