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PDP Continues Support for Downtown Restaurants with Restaurant Recovery Grants

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has announced details of Restaurant Recovery Grants that have been distributed, bringing to a close the Richard King Mellon Foundation restaurant recovery funding the organization received in December 2020 along with additional support from the City of Pittsburgh, an anonymous donor, and other individual and corporate contributions.

Diners enjoy outdoor dining space along Penn Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh

The new grant program provided 37 Downtown restaurants with funding, ranging in amounts from $3,500 to $17,000, with an average grant award of almost $8,000. The total amount of grants distributed to restaurants was $291,300.

Restaurants submitted applications in May providing information on the impact of the pandemic on their business, as well as exactly how they planned to utilize grant awards. The PDP based the awards on pre-pandemic revenue levels and distributed the funds earlier this month. 

Grants awarded will be used for such things as employee recruitment/hiring incentives, payroll, rent, and physical improvements, marketing/advertising, outdoor dining installations/enhancements, online platform development, safety and PPE, and delivery services, as well as operating or service delivery innovations. 

Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the PDP, noted the critical nature of continuing to support the Downtown restaurant industry: “While we are seeing a strong recovery in the making, the pandemic has had a significant impact on this critical industry. The restaurant community has played an important role in bringing people into Downtown and enhancing the vibrancy of our streets, from outdoor dining to live music, these are the things that encourage guests from near and far to visit. The trickle-down effects of their health and well-being is enormous.”

“The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership resolved early in the pandemic that they were not going to stand idly by while our Downtown restaurants were decimated by the pandemic,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The Foundation has supported their efforts eagerly – because the people who work in our Downtown restaurants deserve the help. And because all of us need our restaurants to succeed.”

The Pittsburgh restaurant industry has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and disproportionately so in Downtown Pittsburgh, as businesses have seen customers dwindle to 10-15% of 2019 numbers. This represents an estimated $29 million loss in total revenue – a 75% decline in 2020 – in just the restaurants that received grants through this program. Economic growth in the Downtown restaurant scene had been significant pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 permanently shuttered several Downtown restaurants and created dire circumstances for others that could impact the neighborhood for years to come. The grant program provides a financial buffer for restaurants, supporting their ongoing rebound and recovery. 

Lucas Piatt, President of Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty and Chairman of the PDP Board, expressed his appreciation to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for providing the grant at such a critical time, stating, “the Richard King Mellon Foundation recognized that the PDP would provide the framework and planning for critical actions that would both amplify impact and sustain our Downtown restaurants at a vital moment. We’re incredibly grateful for their commitment to our Downtown businesses, and for the trust they placed in the PDP to execute.”

The Restaurant Recovery Grants are the latest program the PDP developed over the last year to support independently owned Downtown restaurants severely impacted by the pandemic.

These efforts ranged from a Shelter Support Initiative, which provided 9,000 meals from three Downtown restaurants to shelter residents 7 days a week through mid-March, to the Downtown Community Takeout, in partnership with 412 Food Rescue, which allowed the PDP to purchase 1,225 meals per week from 10 Downtown restaurants and serve almost 71,000 meals to individuals experiencing food insecurity. Running for over 6 months, these cornerstone programs generated more than $630,000 in economic impact for the restaurant community.

The PDP also introduced several other supportive initiatives including the Valentines-themed “Spread the Love” campaign, “Good Eats Downtown” which offered 25% off participating restaurants Downtown on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in April, as well as the ongoing “Good Eats Outdoors” campaign which promotes the outdoor dining options currently available at over 30 Downtown restaurants. 

“The PDP has been able to find creative ways to not only help Pittsburgh’s restaurant industry but also to provide incentives for people to visit Downtown again and help the less fortunate,” said Melissa Maffei, General Manager and Event Coordinator at Talia, a Downtown restaurant serving modern Italian cuisine on William Penn Way. “These programs have had such a great impact in revitalizing our community, and because of their efforts we have been able to retain our staff and continue to serve our guests and neighbors.” 

A complete list of restaurants offering outdoor dining options Downtown is available here

Restaurants Receiving Grant Awards

  1. Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine
  2. Arepittas
  3. August Henry’s Inc
  4. Bae Bae’s Cafe
  5. Bae Bae’s Kitchen
  6. Boulevard Deli
  7. Christos Mediterranean Grille
  8. Eadie’s Market and Catering
  9. Emerson’s
  10. Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
  11. gi-jin
  12. HARRIS Grill
  13. Joe and Pie Café and Pizza
  14. Las Velas Mexican Restaurant
  15. Mamma Lucia Pizzeria
  16. Market Street Grocery
  17. Millie’s Homemade
  18. Mitchell’s Bar & Grill
  19. Palmyra
  20. Penn Society
  21. Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room
  22. Redbeard’s on Sixth Sports Bar & Grill
  23. Rosewater Middle Eastern Grill
  24. Sammy’s Famous Corned Beef
  25. Scarpino
  26. SFBC Pittsburgh, LLC.
  27. Sienna Mercato
  28. Sree’s Foods
  29. Standard Market & Pint House
  30. täkō
  31. Talia
  32. The Apollo Cafe
  33. The Simple Greek
  34. The Speckled Egg
  35. The Warren Bar and Burrow
  36. Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh
  37. Yuzu Kitchen

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