Backing Historic Small Restaurants Initiative Page Hero

Backing Historic Small Restaurants

  • Help Us Save Local Flavor

    Historic small restaurants—tangible connections to our communities’ histories—are threatened by the pandemic. Submit your favorite spot today to help save its place for years to come.

    Submit a Place

Looking for a meaningful way to support the historic local eateries you love? Take it beyond takeout and nominate it for a Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant.

Together with American Express, we’re launching a national search for the cozy cafes, delicious dives, and other beloved restaurants that have stood the test of time and served their communities for decades—but now are facing their biggest challenge yet from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our mission: award $1 million in grants to 25 historic and culturally significant restaurants throughout the United States to help them improve, upgrade, and preserve their exterior physical spaces and online businesses. The program has a preference for restaurants owned by underrepresented groups, including People of Color and women, disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. It will be administered by the National Trust.

Nominate a Historic Small Restaurant

If a restaurant you love—or own—fits the bill, then please share it with us! All nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 9, 2021.

Are you a restaurant owner—or restaurant lover—who’d like to nominate your favorite historic eatery in the United States? Before you do, check out the eligibility criteria:

  • Have experienced significant financial hardship due to the impacts of the pandemic.
  • Have contributed to the neighborhood’s history and/or the identity of a particular neighborhood or community for at least 25 years.
  • Be a small/independently owned restaurant located in a historic building and/or historic neighborhood.
  • Preference will be given to businesses owned by underrepresented groups, including People of Color and women, disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
  • Priority will be given to small restaurants who have not already received significant COVID-19-related aid.

Have questions? Please check out our Frequently Asked Questions, or email

The National Trust has partnered with American Express to launch the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program (the “Historic Restaurants Grant Program”) which is administered by the National Trust. No personal data or information received from applications to the Historic Small Restaurants Program will be shared with American Express; only information necessary to administer the program will be provided to American Express. Please review the National Trust’s full privacy policy.