35 Inland Empire eateries win ‘Restaurants Care Resilience Fund’ Grant



Each $5,000 grant is focused on aiding restaurants, fueled by donations from local energy corporations like SoCalGas, PG&E and others.

Ashley Ludwig | Contributor

A total of 35 Inland Empire restaurants were among 182 Southern and Central California eateries that received $5,000 grants from the Restaurants Care Resilience fund.

The grant program, which can be used to strengthen businesses and retain employees, began as a response to the pandemic in 2021. It has since evolved into a permanent fund to build resilience within our restaurant community, a spokesperson for the fund said.

All grant winners are given means to purchase kitchen equipment, technical upgrades, employee training and bonuses, and unforeseen hardships. This second cycle of grants was made possible by donations from SoCalGas, The PG&E Corporation Foundation (PG&E Foundation), and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), which have contributed to the fund since it first began.

In Murrieta, Da Big Easy Bayou Kitchen BBQ & Soulfood and Famous PUDN both won the grant for the fall of 2023.

Famous PUDN owner EJ Smith talked about what earning the award means to his business.

“We are super excited that our Famous PUDN restaurant was picked to win a $5,000 grant from the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund to help with equipment and employee training/bonuses,” he said. “The timing was perfect because the 4th quarter has been a little slower than anticipated, even though we did great for Thanksgiving. We hope for an even better Christmas this year than last year because we’ve added a great gift card promotion. Only time will tell.”

In Riverside County, the following 13 restaurants received the award:

1. Main Street Deli, Corona

2. The Haus Bistro, Calimesa

3.Pueblo Viejo Grill, Indio

4. Taco Villa Mexican Grill, Jurupa Valley

5. OJ’s Cafe, Moreno Valley

6. Da Big Easy Bayou Kitchen BBQ & Soulfood, Murrieta

7. Famous PUDN, Murrieta

8. Cervantes Fiesta Mexican Food, Perris

9. La Gare Cafe, Perris

10. Salt and Saffron (Catalan), Rancho Mirage

11. Yolis Mexican Grill, Riverside

12. EAT Marketplace, Temecula

13. Montague Brothers Coffee, Wildomar

In San Bernardino, another 22 restaurants also received the grant:

1. Halleluiah Bbq, Apple Valley, San Bernadino

2. R & R Breakfast Spot, Chino, San Bernadino

3. Thai Barbecue Restaurant, Chino Hills, San Bernadino

4. The Cookie Jar, Fontana, San Bernadino

5. Mucho Gusto Peruvian Cuisine, Fontana, San Bernadino

6. Shrimp shack Cajun fusion, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernadino

7. The Deli, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernadino

8. Cheesewalla, Redlands, San Bernadino

9. La Volata Pizzeria, Redlands, San Bernadino

10. Tortas ahogadas chapala, Rialto, San Bernadino

11. Shokunin, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernadino

12. New Delhi Palace Cuisine of India, San Bernadino, San Bernadino

13. Pho Century Corporation, Upland, San Bernadino

14. Padua Pasta Makers Italian Deli and Market, Upland, San Bernadino

15. Kishi Japanese Restaurant LLC, Upland, San Bernadino

16. Maniac-Mikes Cafe, Upland, San Bernadino

17. Thai ivory cuisine, Upland, San Bernadino

18. Beola’s Chicken and Waffles, Upland, San Bernadino

19. Ruben’s tacos, Upland, San Bernadino

20. Mariscos El Guero, Upland, San Bernadino

21. Rev’d Up Coffee & Classics, Upland, San Bernadino

22. Rebels burgers and brew, Yucaipa, San Bernadino

“Since 2021, the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund has awarded $5.94 million in grants to 1,325 independent restaurants throughout California,” they said. The restaurants include burger joints, taquerias, bakeries, and more at the heart of every community.” Many of these restaurants represent family legacies and life-long dreams.”

Here are a few statistics about restaurants that apply for the grant. Most have been in business for around ten years, and 92% are single-unit restaurants. Of the applicants, 66% of the restaurants are owned by women, and 77% are owned by people of color.

On average, each restaurant employs 11 people – over 10,000 employees who will benefit from the resilience fund grant statewide. A new grant of up to $2,500 is directly earmarked for cooks, servers, dishwashers, and other workers when they face an unforeseen hardship.

Alycia Harshfield, Executive Director of the California Restaurant Foundation, discussed the most recent grant awards.

“We are thrilled to close out our biggest Resilience Fund year yet by awarding 182 restaurant owners with these business-supporting grants, especially as they enter the holiday season and new year,” Harshfield said. “We are confident that our new cohort of deserving restaurant owners will use their grants to strengthen their business resiliency and further cultivate a vibrant food scene across California. SoCalGas, The PG&E Corporation Foundation, and SDG&E have been such wonderful partners to us, and we look forward to continuing to work with them to support locally owned restaurants up and down the state.”

The organization actively seeks more supporters, and donations of all sizes are accepted and celebrated. Visit www.restaurantscare.org/resilience for more information.

See the complete list of Fall 2023 grantees below.


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