HISTORIC Filipinotown restaurant The Park’s Finest has unveiled limited-edition merchandise as part of the Vans “Foot the Bill” initiative to support small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The Park’s Finest — a family business along Temple Street that serves American cuts of BBQ with a Filipino flavor — partnered with Mabuhay Massive to design a customized Vans slip-on shoe ($90) and t-shirt ($30). Only 500 pairs of the shoe will be made available for purchase on the Vans website.
“The food we prepare in the space we’ve built on Temple Street is a humble haven for care and comfort for our surrounding community. We have helped establish the social justice-oriented spirit of Filipinotown through food,” the restaurant said on the website.
The shoes and t-shirt “carry images, phrases, and symbols that convey care and protection coupled with LA visuals that exemplify the spirit of The Park’s Finest,” it wrote in an Instagram post.
Inspired by Ilokano textile motif, “the diamonds depict the watchful and protective eyes of the ancestors behind messages of ‘ingat’ (take care) and ‘serve the people’ with a mix of distinct characters essential in building community,” the restaurant added.
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Since the start of the pandemic last March, the restaurant has been “closed” for take-out and delivery to instead dedicate its efforts to the Feed the Frontliners project that provides hot catered meals to health care workers and first responders in LA County. Proceeds of the Vans collaboration will go toward sustaining their feeding program, which has served over 25,000 meals.
“When we come to hospitals or facilities, they tell us that this meal delivery is a highlight of their month or week and it gives them a short break from the reality of the pandemic that is unevenly affecting immigrant communities like ours,” Johneric Concordia of The Park’s Finest previously told the Asian Journal.
Hospitals and fire stations can fill out a meal request form to be considered for a catering delivery from the restaurant.
In addition to independently-owned restaurants, the Vans initiative has worked with small businesses like skate shops, music venues and art galleries.