Richmond-area eateries get $73M from Restaurant Revitalization Fund

RVA Hospitality restaurant group plans to use some of its Restaurant Revitalization Fund money to outfit the outdoor dining space at Bar Solita. (BizSense file photos)

Hundreds of local food- and beverage-related businesses got an extra helping of $73 million in federal stimulus money from the recently closed out Restaurant Revitalization Fund, according to numbers released this month from the Small Business Administration.

Nearly 300 local businesses participated in the RRF program, which was one of the more recent COVID-era stimulus programs enacted by the American Rescue Plan. Unlike the earlier wide-ranging Paycheck Protection Program, the RRF was open only to restaurant operators, caterers, breweries, wineries, distilleries, bars, coffee shops, frozen yogurt shops and others that serve food or drink.

Local businesses that received RRF funding run the gamut from restaurant groups with multiple locations to franchisees of national brands such as Subway.

The amount of funding received ranges from as much $5 million to as low as $1,200.

Nationally, more than 100,000 applicants were awarded more than $28 billion through the program. The program received more than 278,000 eligible applications that sought more than $72.2 billion.

BizSense whittled down the nationwide list to beneficiaries in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, Powhatan, Hanover and New Kent based on the ZIP codes that applicants submitted as part of their applications.

The five individual entities that received the most funds were:

  • • Housepitality Family LLC (The Boathouse, Casa del Barco, Island Shrimp Co.): $5.4 million
  • • Cafe International Inc. (Mosaic Catering + Events): $3.1 million
  • • Feast Catering & Events LLC (Groovin’ Gourmets): $2.5 million
  • • Urban Innovations LLC (The Circuit Bar and Arcade, Slingshot Social Game Club): $1.4 million
  • • HGreeley LLC (Hutch Bar & Eatery): $1.2 million

Some operators with more than one restaurant received the funding for their multiple concepts under one legal entity. Others, such as RVA Hospitality, which operates Tarrant’s Cafe and other concepts, received a total of $3.3 million split across four LLCs.

RVA Hospitality COO Liz Kincaid said the company plans to allocate its RRF funding toward employee raises and a free-to-employees telehealth service. Funds will also be used to pay workers who cover the shifts of managers who attend leadership training. The restaurant group recently kicked off those initiatives to attract employees amid labor shortages.

Housepitality Family restaurant group, which operates Island Shrimp Co., The Boathouse and Casa del Barco, received $5.4 million in federal funds through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

“We have a vision of a stronger business and hiring more people and giving those people more benefits and higher pay,” Kincaid said. “This will allow us to move forward and be stable and do things we wouldn’t do otherwise.”

RVA Hospitality also plans to make permanent, subject to city approval, the outdoor dining area at its Bar Solita restaurant at 123 W. Broad St., Kincaid said. Some of the RRF money is earmarked for furniture and lights for that patio.

Many local restaurants received money through the original PPP program and were also able to take advantage of the RRF.

One of those is taco shop chain Don’t Look Back. Managing partner Hamooda Shami said it plans to use its roughly $847,000 in RRF funding in the same way it used its PPP money: to cover payroll, rent and supplier costs as it seeks to return to pre-pandemic operations while balancing debt.

“The first PPP was, ‘OK, we’re not going out of business.’ The second PPP with the (Employee Retention Credit program) … I look at that like, ‘OK, we’re going to get out of this thing for sure, we’ll survive in some form,’” Shami said. “I look at the RRF as not only are we going to make it but we’re going to be able to do it in a more comfortable fashion.”

In addition to paying off delayed payments on rent and supplies, Kevin Healy of Housepitality Family said he planned to sock away some of its RRF funding in anticipation of future unexpected costs.

“Just to be able to have a little cushion is a great feeling,” Healy said. “Really what I’m using it for is to sleep at night.”

West End restaurant Hutch, which closed its space at Gayton Crossing last year, received $1.2 million from the RRF. Owner Josh Bufford said he hopes to reopen the restaurant elsewhere using program funds. Another restaurant, Les Crepes, has since opened in place of Hutch.

RRF participants had to prove pandemic-related revenue loss and had to be open or temporarily closed to be eligible for the program.

Companies that received funds have until March 11, 2023 to spend their funding on approved expenditures, which include payroll, debt, utilities, rent and outdoor dining spaces. Funds that aren’t spent by that deadline would be returned to the government.

Here’s a glimpse of the top 25 local recipients:

Company Address Location Amount
Housepitality Family LLC 4602 Millridge Pkwy Midlothian $5,387,830.00
Cafe International inc. 3001 Cutshaw Ave Richmond $3,083,765.00
Feast Catering & Events LLC 8501 Sanford Dr Richmond $2,549,213.00
Urban Innovations LLC 5806 Grove Ave Richmond $1,422,601.60
HGreeley LLC 1308 Gaskins Rd Henrico $1,194,633.00
River City Roll LLC 939 Myers Street Richmond $1,148,457.43
Tarrants LLC 1 W Broad St Richmond $1,099,852.76
Hotel Greene LLC 508 E Franklin St Richmond $1,055,810.13
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery LLC 2410 Ownby Ln Richmond $1,024,266.00
Hippodrome Entertainment LLC 518 N 2nd St Richmond $973,837.00
GHR LLC 1911 W Main St Richmond $924,898.00
Edo’s Squid LLC 411 N Harrison St Richmond $905,987.03
Goodrich Gourmet Catering LLC 112 S 2nd St Richmond $881,498.50
SWMPBK LLC 4901 Libbie Richmond $872,231.00
Tarrants West LLC 11129 Three Chopt Rd Henrico $850,429.86
Charred Chesterfield Swift Creek LLC 13451 Hull Street Rd Midlothian $830,160.00
The American Pork Fat Foundation LLC 3336 N Arthur Ashe Blvd Richmond $812,023.67
New Irish LLC 1327 E Cary St Richmond $768,465.00
Homemades by Suzanne Inc 102 N Railroad Ave Ashland $756,704.57
Prime Steak – Richmond LLC 11500 W Huguenot Rd Midlothian $752,443.00
Tarrants Cafe LLC 123 W Broad St Richmond $730,469.99
1719 Associates LLC 420 E Grace St Richmond $669,021.00
Society Hospitality LLC 4814 E Seminary Ave Richmond $659,088.25
Don’t Look Back Hospitality LLC 3306 W Broad St Richmond $655,622.00

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Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Ian Davenport
Ian Davenport
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Very interesting these closures appear to have happened a few days before July 1st, 2020, when Virginia’s new wage theft law began.

Matt Merica
Matt Merica
1 month ago

I am just wondering how they determine how much money an entity gets when everybody knows the cash part of the business is not reported or under reported. Regardless, it seems like if the companies got 1st round of PPP and then 2nd round of PPP, and now this, then there certainly will be some new millionaires around RVA.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Merica

“Companies that received funds have until March 11, 2023 to spend their funding on approved expenditures, which include payroll, debt, utilities, rent and outdoor dining spaces. Funds that aren’t spent by that deadline would be returned to the government.”

Hire your nephew as a consultant, pay off your debt and pocket what you were paying in interest, then build a patio.

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
1 month ago

Funds will also be used to pay workers who cover the shifts of managers who attend leadership training.” I would be interested to know what is “leadership training” and who and where is that taking place.