Watertown Restaurant First Awardee of Group Looking to Save Local Eateries

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Watertown’s Donohue’s Bar & Grill received the first grant from the Step Up to the Table Foundation, a group looking to save local restaurants during COVID-19.

Donohue’s was nominated by Josh Vernon, who sent in a letter talking about how much the restaurant has given back to the community since it opened in 1998, particularly to the Watertown Boys & Girls Club.

“When you mention Donohue’s to anyone from the Watertown area, they think of family and a wonderful place to gather together for all reasons JD would never ask for help, so as a friend and customer I felt he deserved this nomination so he can continue giving back to his community and supporting his staff,” Vernon wrote in his nomination.

Like restaurants across Massachusetts, Donohue’s has faced many hurdles during the pandemic, from being closed in the early days of COVID, to continued reduction of capacity and other restrictions.

See a video, below, posted by the Step Up to the Table Foundation when it told owner JD Donohue about the grant:

17 thoughts on “Watertown Restaurant First Awardee of Group Looking to Save Local Eateries

  1. I am not sure what the “mission” of this foundation is, but I wonder if it will also be awarded to restaurants with no political ties to the town. I don’t mean to disparage this award, just hoping for broad distribution.

      • Hi Kathy.
        This is Helen with Step Up to the Table foundation and our mission is to support 1000 local restaurants across the US.
        You can find us at http://www.stepuptothetable.com. I can assure you we have no knowledge of any political ties but rather trying to help independent restaurant owner operators.
        The award was granted based on a heartfelt nomination from Josh Vernon, a loyal patron.

      • Hi Kathy.
        This is Helen with Step Up to the Table foundation and our mission is to support 1000 local restaurants across the US.
        I can assure you we have no knowledge of any political ties but rather trying to help independent restaurant owner operators. We started this non profit as a way to help struggling restaurants that have suffered, as a result of the pandemic .
        The award was granted based on a heartfelt nomination from Josh Vernon, a loyal patron.

    • The “mission” Kathy Koop is to support a business owner that has put his community and employees before himself. That has worked tirelessly to stay afloat and has put the means of others before himself. It is to support a restaurant that is a family. A place that feels like home to the community, to the regulars, and to the people that fly into Boston and make Donahue’s their number one. You say “no political ties”. He has hosted event after event raising money for the Boys and Girls Club and helping the community. Who would you rather have the money go too? Your claim is by far arbitrary. How dare you write a comment like yours with no supporting data because there is none, the foundation is from California, you should’ve looked into that and on top of that small businesses have gone through enough. The owner deserves every penny. Delightfully screw you.

    • Kathy

      You right there is the problem! Yes you! I will try to pray for you if there is any hope of saving you. You have no idea what JD & Donohues has done for the Town of Watertown.

      The Koof

    • Wow! Don’t mean to disparage the award?? You just did. Wherever you go to eat, I’m confident they serve big heaping bowls of cynical soup, hold the empathy. What a heartless thig to say.

    • Wow Kathy, either by accident or on purpose, you really stepped into this one. A little research by you would have gone a long way, first on the Foundation, and secondly, on Donohues. As a long time resident, I can attest to Donohues deep ties to the community. Many posts have already mentioned the restaurant’s generosity to the Boys & Girls Club, but there are so many other organizations in our town that can thank JD for his contributions. Whenever I approached him as a member of the Boards of Watertown Youth Hockey and Watertown Youth Lacrosse, and before I could even say anything, he would quickly ask “how much do you need?” And it was never just a one time donation. Simply put, he is a tremendous asset to the town. In addition, even during a life changing pandemic, the restaurant and its staff continue to provide not only philanthropic support to the town’s many non-profit organizations, but also still offer a great place to meet and dine with friends & family, old and new. My congrats to JD, his restaurant and staff, and I wish them 20 more years of success and giving.

  2. Step Up to the Table Foundation is a California based venture with no previous or political ties to Watertown. You can read their entire mission on their website.

  3. I find it hilarious that instead of applauding this organization for helping Donohues – a family run business that has built itself up over two decades classless individuals are bringing up “town politics”. This owner has sunk tens of thousands of dollars of HIS own money into his restaurant which employs nearly 60 people in the surrounding communities. He has watched as revenue has dropped. He has watched as he has had to make improvement after improvements during a world wide pandemic to remain open. He’s eat he’s while his hours and capacity have been restricted. You want to cry “political ties” when the grant is from an organization with no ties to Watertown. They are trying to do what our government and state has failed to do – provide aid and give hope. Think before you comment and actually do your research. If you did your would understand that Donohues has donated years of service and thousands of dollars to the community of Watertown and is so deserved of this grant. Complete ignorance.

  4. I have sung the praises of JD many times, solely for
    for his many contributions he has made to our community.
    JD “Makes Things Happen”
    His efforts , help people, contribute to organizations,
    and so much more.
    Well deserved!

  5. JD, Congrats to you and the Donoghues staff on the award and recognition. Not only do you run a great community business but you are always supporting others. Keep it up!

    • Congrats to JD, Amy and Donohues. Certainly well deserved and needed.

      So sad, some in our community can’t feel happy for others or just always need to chime in on every issue, regardless of it impacts them or whether they have any expertise in the particular area.

      Like we really care what you think anyway.

      Again, JD and Amy, congrats and best wishes during this struggle for survival.

      Now can I have my bartending job back. I really wasn’t that bad, was I?

      Now let’s get some grant money to our boys on the other side of the Town – Fitz’Zees!!

  6. Thank you to the ‘Step Up to the Table’ Foundation. Kudos to Josh. Well-deserved John. Good story all around, and all should be very proud of their many contributions. Cheers,

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