American Express Launches a $1 Million Grant for Historic Small Restaurants

Lauren Hubbard
·2 min read
Photo credit: Taiyou Nomachi - Getty Images
Photo credit: Taiyou Nomachi - Getty Images

From Town & Country

It would be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on the restaurant industry—nationwide, restaurants made about $240 billion below pre-pandemic projections last year, with more than 110,000 restaurants shuttering for good according to a report from the National Restaurant Association. Among the hardest hit, of course, have been small restaurant businesses, some of which hold an invaluable place in the history and cultural fabric of their communities. While PPP loans and government aid have helped some stay afloat during the long and difficult shift in operations, far too many of these have remained at risk of permanent closure.

In light of that risk, today American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have announced a new $1 million "Backing Historic Small Restaurants" grant for "historic and culturally significant restaurants in the U.S. to help them navigate the impacts of the pandemic and support their financial recovery." The grant, which will be award to 25 historic small restaurants, is designed to provide physical and technological aid for things like maintaining historic facades, building outdoor dining spaces, and updating online ordering systems, as well as technical assistance, educational tools, and virtual training from partners at Resy, Main Street America, the National Restaurant Association, and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

"For generations, our nation’s oldest and most historic small restaurants have been safe spaces for customers to share meals, ideas, and their culture. They are at the heart of our neighborhoods, serve our communities, and help advance cultural and social change for those who live there,” Colleen Taylor, U.S. President of Merchant Services at American Express said in a statement announcing the initiative. "The ‘Backing Historic Small Restaurants’ program will help preserve these spaces not only for their legacy, but also for their earned place in our nation’s future."

To qualify for the grant, eligible restaurants must be small or independently owned, in a historic building or neighborhood, and have operated within their community for at least 25 years. Particular consideration will be given to business owned by underrepresented groups, and those who have not previously received significant COVID-19 aid.

To nominate a historic small restaurant in your area, head to SavingPlaces.org.


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