With the recent release of the $28.6 billion round of COVID-19 relief funding from the Restaurant Revitalization Act, Texas restaurants and bars got over a billion dollars in aid, according to new data released by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Of that, some 556 grants went to Austin restaurants, with dollar amounts ranging from over $8 million to just $1,553. So which Austin restaurants got the most money?
This third round of funding is part of the American Rescue Plan stimulus bill, signed into law in March 2021. Applications for the grants, available for a maximum of $10 million, opened on May 3 but closed on June 30 after the fund ran out of money. The U.S. Small Business Administration, the government organization overseeing the program, received 18,461 grant requests from Texas restaurants and approved only 6,406 grants totaling $1,674,864,564 — an acceptance rate of about 35 percent. The grants do not have to be paid back by restaurant owners if used by March 2023 for qualifying expenses.
The recipient of the largest Austin grant was Texas Restaurant Group Inc. — a franchisee of Panera Bread. The expected local major restaurant groups also make appearances: McGuire Moorman got $3 million for Lambert’s and $1.6 million for its other restaurants; New Waterloo (which includes La Condesa) got $2.6 million; and Kung Fu Saloon got a combined $3.6 million. There are also several restaurants with catering businesses, like Contigo and the Peached Tortilla, which makes sense as events were on hold.
Another recipient was Spin Austin LLC — the local location of the national ping-pong bar chain Spin. It turns out that the bar closed sometime in the latter half of 2020 and its parent company sold its ownership interest in the Austin location earlier this January. “Spin no longer has any involvement or financial interest with that entity or that location, and the Spin name will no longer be used in connection with the business going forward,” co-founder Andrew Gordon tells Eater. This means that the new owners — one of whom is Andy Hersch — applied for the pandemic grants this year. Hersch appears to plan on reopening the address as an unaffiliated ping-pong club. Eater has reached out to the new owners for more information.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was supposed to prioritize funding for businesses owned by women, veterans, and people from economically and socially disadvantaged groups who missed out on earlier rounds of financial relief by providing a 21-day period where applications were only open for those groups. However, white restaurateurs sued, claiming this policy was discriminatory.
Here’s a look at the Austin-area businesses that received grants of over $1 million and the total amount they received. The full list can be found online.
- Texas Restaurant Group Inc. (Panera Bread), $8,482,166.00
- BBQ 512 LLC (Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que), $4,058,430.50
- Tacodeli Holdings Inc., $3,816,748.00
- Pok-e-Jo’S Smokehouse Inc, $3,650,193.00
- Lamberts Downtown Barbecue LTD (also part of the McGuire Moorman group), $3,121,377.50
- Maggie Mae’s - A British Pub Inc., $2,759,847.00
- Container Bar LP, $2,713,417.00
- Bezella Enterprises LLC (Golden Corral franchise), $2,700,724.00
- Icon Group Holdings LLC (New Waterloo, which includes La Condesa, Sway, etc.), $2,593,698.00
- Spin Austin LLC, $2,569,177.00
- Of Rigor LLC (Roosevelt Room, the Eleanor), $2,532,502.92
- Contigo Catering LLC, $2,401,276.93
- Crave This Inc. (Crave Catering), $2,342,872.00
- Domain Guys LLC (Kung Fu Saloon, Domain), $2,305,334.00
- Quality Seafood Inc., $2,006,962.04
- 3 Doost Inc. (Lucille’s), $1,855,130.36
- Redrum Bar LLC (Green Light Social), $1,837,360.00
- American Cuisines Inc. (Manuel’s), $1,833,719.00
- Campus Cafe Associates Ltd., $1,827,746.00
- The Peached Tortilla Mobile LLC, $1,802,639.00
- 616 Restaurant Inc (Ranch 616), $1,697,033.00
- MJUAREZ Enterprises LLC, $1,653,196.00
- New Jeffreys Restaurant Group LLC (also part of the McGuire Moorman group), $1,625,606.00
- Zenith Cafe Corporation (Chez Zee), $1,584,801.00
- Amnet Food Services LLC (Agave Sports Bar), $1,503,788.04
- Ji Xing Restaurant Inc (Fujian Grand China Buffet), $1,445,853.00
- Svalto LP (HandleBar), $1,412,765.00
- Gilmass Jamuley LLC (Odd Duck), $1,381,786.00
- Kun Fu Inc (Buffet King), $1,373,611.00
- Hillside Farmacy, $1,371,501.00
- Dandelion Cafe LLC (Blue Dahlia; while the Central East Austin location closed last year, its Bee Cave and San Marcos restaurants are still open), $1,348,361.00
- West Guys LLC (Kung Fu Saloon West Sixth), $1,344,378.00
- Iron Works Barbecue Inc., $1,284,965.00
- Lavaca Street Grill LLC, $1,268,381.00
- 92 Rainey Group LLC (Bungalow), $1,236,184.66
- Three’s Company LLC (Volstead), $1,229,162.31
- Bouldin Creek Cafe LLC, $1,219,180.00
- Comedor LLC, $1,209,031.16
- Nineteen Thirty Seven Group Inc (Justine’s), $1,180,689.00
- Creative Foods LLC (chains including Texas Land & Cattle), $1,152,517.00
- Wills Cookie Stores Ltd, $1,132,973.00
- Big Horn Saloon LLC (Parlor Room), $1,125,763.55
- Launderette Cafe LLC, $1,114,805.00
- Musashino Sushi Dokoro Inc., $1,111,090.00
- Black Sheep Lodge LTD, $1,065,429.00
- Catering by Baby Acapulco Inc., $1,045,873.00
- Louis and Claire Concessions LLC, $1,031,724.59
- Saddles Blazin LLC (Blaze Pizza), $1,030,783.00
- Stiles Switch LLC, $1,010,986.00
- 2310 Manor Rd LLC (Haymaker), $1,010,853.00
With additional reporting by Nadia Chaudhury.