COLUMBUS, OHIO (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–Central Ohio restaurants, breweries, caterers, and other food establishments were approved for $130 million in grants through the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

That was spread across 535 businesses in the region for an average loan of $244,001.

The largest local recipient was Rise Brands Inc., operators of Pins Mechanical Co., 16-Bit Bar + Arcade and more. The company received $5.7 million from the fund.

“We’re going to make our people whole,” founder Troy Allen said.

At Rise, salaried employees are getting back pay for the cuts they took during the pandemic, while hourly employees are getting bonuses tied to the length of time they’ve been with the company, Allen said. Some of the funds will go toward paying back debts incurred during the pandemic including back rent and Economic Injury Disaster Loans the business took on.

“This is like resetting the company,” Allen said.

Unlike last year’s Paycheck Protection Program, which was focused primarily on the workforce, the RRF program offered broader allowable uses, including paying for maintenance, mortgage, utilities, or even expansion construction.

It was created to replenish lost revenue from the past year and does not have to be repaid provided it is spent on allowable uses. Businesses were eligible for up to a $10 million grant.

Angela Petro, whose Together & Co. catering company received $1.98 million, said that while the Paycheck Protection Program was akin to emergency medicine that kept her business from dying, the RRF grant is physical therapy.

“We’d survive but we’d have to limp along for the next two or three years,” she said. “We wouldn’t have money to invest back into our team, into hiring and benefits, into reinvesting in equipment.”

The business took on high-interest loans in the past year to stay afloat. The RRF grant will allow it to pay those off and pay vendors as well.

“We can make everyone whole now,” Petro said. “The ripple effect of that is significant. This money is going back into the economy.”

Statewide, 2,844 small businesses were approved for funding for an average of $203,820 per grant.

Nationwide more than 101,000 establishments were approved for $28.6 billion in grants.

Demand, however, far exceeded supply. The Small Business Administration previously said there were more than 362,000 applications seeking $75 billion in funding, meaning applicants were more likely to not be approved than to be approved.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act of 2021 currently in Congress proposes adding another $60 billion in grants, but the if and when of its approval remains unknown.

In Ohio, the state also is making grants of up to $30,000 available to qualifying food businesses in a new program announced this month.

Click here for a searchable database of all businesses approved for grants. Of note: The data released by the SBA was for approvals only. Businesses did have the option of declining the grant.

The biggest individual approvals in Central Ohio were:

  • Rise Brands Inc., $5.7 million
  • Barroluco LLC, $3.25 million
  • CLB Restaurant Holdings LLC (Matt the Miller’s), $2.98 million
  • RGB LLC (Union Café), $2.17 million
  • Dave Cunningham (food truck/cart, catering), $2 million
  • Two Caterers Inc. (Together & Co.), $1.98 million
  • J. Fred Schmidt Packing Co. (Schmidt’s), $1.81 million
  • Milo’s Deli & Café Inc., $1.69 million
  • Flannagan-Dublin Inc., $1.56 million
  • Brewpub Restaurant Limited Partnership (Barley’s), $1.42 million

And these were the biggest individual approvals statewide:

  • Select Management Holdings (Pier W, eight other restaurants around the U.S.), Beachwood, $10 million
  • Thunderdome Restaurants Cincinnati, (Bakersfield, The Eagle), $10 million
  • Barrio Bros LLC, Cleveland, $6.07 million
  • Rise Brands, Columbus, $5.7 million
  • The Metropolitan Hotel LLC, Cleveland, $5 million
  • First TDT LLC (hotel), Toledo, $5 million
  • Burntwood Tavern Holdings, Chagrin Falls, $4.02 million
  • Gratzi Catering LLC, Cincinnati, $3.95 million
  • Fricker’s Holding Co. Inc., Miamisburg, $3.28 million
  • Barroluco LLC, Columbus, $3.25 million

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