Chamber launches Cuisine Cash program to help local businesses

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber launched the program aimed at helping local restaurants, bars and breweries during the pandemic. To date, there are 34 area businesses participating in the Cuisine Cash program where people can buy $25 gift cards for $20 and support local businesses.


A new program in the lakes area is aimed at helping restaurants, bars and breweries through a difficult holiday season.

Already faced with reduced revenues with the pandemic and efforts to slow the spread of the virus that reduced dining capacity, hours of operation or eliminated in-door dining, restaurants, bars and breweries are facing a tough revenue road. And this holiday and winter season are hitting area businesses that depended on the summer influx to provide revenue that sustains them over the winter, and now they are now facing an even tougher winter than usual.

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce created a Cuisine Cash program for the purchase of gift cards to help the hard hit restaurant, bars and breweries businesses in the lakes area. The website where $25 gift cards may be purchased for $20 is .

What is Cuisine Cash?


  • Lakes Proud Cuisine Cash is a new gift certificate program to help local restaurants, bars and breweries survive the latest business shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The Brainerd Lakes Chamber created the Cuisine Cash program, but the chamber is partnering with all area chambers of commerce (Crosslake, Cuyuna, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes) to promote the program within their communities.

  • People can go online to to buy $25 gift certificates for a discounted price of $20. Cuisine Cash certificates are available until Jan. 1. Restaurants will receive the funds in mid-January.

  • The chamber will ship the certificates free of charge, or people can choose curbside pick-up at the chamber office, 224 W. Washington St., next to Ace Hardware in Brainerd.

  • There are currently 34 participating businesses. Others are still welcome to join, but they must be members of one of the chambers. A list of the businesses with logos, along with an option to purchase a gift card via a virtual shopping cart is available on the website. As of Friday, the list included: Baxter Cafe & Catering, Roundhouse Brewery, Manhattan’s at Manhattan Beach Lodge, Grizzly’s wood-fired grill & bar, Wings Airport Cafe, b*merri gastro pub at The Woods, Firehouse Subs, Commander Restaurant and Bar and JJ’s Pub, Prairie Bay, Tasty North Pizza, Black Bear Lodge and Saloon, Andy’s Bar and Grill and Wine & Spirits, Mixed Company a Kava House, Sunshine’s SummerHouse, Sage on Laurel, Jack Pine Brewery, Lake Country Crafts & Cones, Norway Ridge Supper Club, Flame Nutrition, Rafferty’s Pizza, Cedar Chest Restaurant and Bar, Sherwood Forest Lodge, Zorbaz on Crozz Lake, The 612 Station, Poncho & Lefty’s Tex-Mex grill, Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant & Bar, Fancy Pants Chocolates, Big Axe Brewing Co., The Bridge Tavern, The Boulder Tap House, Iron Range Eatery, Knotty Pine Bakery, Iron Waffle, Crosslake Coffee, 14 Lakes Craft Brewing Co., Maucieri’s Italian Bistro, Bar & Deli and Pizza Ranch.

  • For the first 1,000 certificates sold, the Initiative Foundation will donate $5 each to Bridges of Hope to help families in need. Recently, another anonymous donor offered to match the same amount for the next 500 sold. In total, that is $7,500. The chamber would welcome other donors who would like to contribute in this way.

There has been a great community response so far, Matt Kilian, Brainerd Lakes Chamber president stated in an email Wednesday, Nov. 25. “We have sold nearly 1,000 certificates in the first few hours after launching the program. Many orders are coming from businesses who want to thank their employees for a job well done in 2020. Many had to cancel their Christmas parties due to COVID restrictions.”

The chamber continues to offer Chamber Bucks, a universal gift check like a traveler’s check. The chamber reports the Chamber Bucks can be spent at hundreds of member locations across the region and are available year-round.

“What’s the difference between Chamber Bucks and Cuisine Cash? Chamber Bucks are certified checks that local businesses deposit when they are spent. With the latest business closures, we invented Cuisine Cash certificates to get money to struggling restaurants sooner. Both are great ways to keep it local!” the chamber reported on its website.

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