Together with American Express, we launched the Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program, 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 was to 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 had a preference for restaurants owned by underrepresented groups, including People of Color and women, disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. The grants will be administered by the National Trust.
The following 25 historic small restaurants will receive funding through the program:
- The Four Way Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
- Dooky Chase Restaurant, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Stutts House of Bar-B-Q, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Suehiro Café, Los Angeles, California
- Maneki Restaurant, Seattle, Washington
- Casa Vicky, San Jose, California
- Chinatown Garden, Washington, D.C.
- La Posta de Mesilla, Mesilla, New Mexico
- Daddy Dz BBQ Joynt, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington, D.C.
- John's Place, Cookeville, Tennessee
- Alfreda's Soul Food, Houston, Texas
- Kegel's Inn, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Galloways Landing Bar & Restaurant, Boquerón, Puerto Rico
- Tex Miller's Hamburgers, Cameron, Texas
- Historic Neir's Tavern, New York, New York
- Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Detroit, Michigan
- Nakato Japanese Restaurant, Atlanta, Georgia
- Lee Lee's Baked Goods, New York, New York
- Sweetheart Cafe & Tea, Oakland, California
- El Cristo Restaurant, Miami, Florida
- Harold & Belle's Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
- Wanda J's Next Generation Soul Food Restaurant, Tulsa, Oklahoma
- La Fonda El Taquito, Kansas City, Missouri
- Ray's Luncheonette Inc., Montclair, New Jersey
For more information on these restaurants, please visit program partner Resy.
The criteria for this grant program was as follows:
- 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.