Illustration by Stephanie Rudig/File
Illustration by Stephanie Rudig/File

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It’s been a week since the city closed restaurants and bars to on-premise consumption, limiting the industry’s earning potential to delivery and take-out. Many business owners have had to lay off some or all of their employees. But help is on the way.

On Tuesday, applications open for the city’s DC Public Health Emergency Small Business Grant Program. Businesses located in D.C. with up-to-date business licenses who can prove they’ve lost at least 25 percent of their revenue due to COVID-19 are eligible for a piece of the $25 million pie. Small businesses can also apply for US Small Business Administration Disaster Loans that go up to $2 million, with repayment beginning 12 months after the loan is approved.

In the meantime, restaurants and bars have launched online fundraisers through sites like GoFundMe to help pay staff and other expenses. For those diners who don’t feel comfortable ordering take-out or delivery, donating is one way to help. There’s also the Virtual Tip Jar containing Venmo and PayPal accounts for more than 4,100 service industry workers.

“Many of our staff will fall outside of the safety nets provided to others,” says Sloppy Mama’s BBQ owner Joe Neuman. “This is an immediate way to provide support without delays, applications, and red tape.” 

“My staff is the reason why the restaurant is so successful,” says Kith/Kin Executive Chef Kwame Onwuachi. “Many of them are just sitting around and waiting for us to open back up. They are doing their civic duty to stay home in order to curb the spread of the virus. With 60-plus employees, I want to make sure things like rent, car notes, utility bills, and more are at least contributed to in any way possible. That is why I created the fund.”

City Paper will continue to update the following list of D.C. restaurant and bar fundraisers. Email to be added.

Across The Pond“This GoFundMe is for them to help pay rent and other necessities, not for the business owners.”

A League of Her Own and Pitchers “The money will be given to people who solely rely on the bars to make a living.”

Allegory“All donations are directly distributed to the bar team.” 

All SoulsGift cards and merchandise sales go towards helping bar employees.

Annie’s Paramount Steak House“Your donation will go directly to our staff and help them through this period of uncertainty.”

ANXO“100 percent of these funds will go to supporting ANXO kitchen and front of house employees who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.”

Bad Saint“From March 18-April 18, 2020, 100 percent of Bad Saint gift card purchases will be put into an emergency support fund for our staff.”

Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint Ex“This fund will be split evenly amongst staff to help pay rent, bills, and put food on the table.”

Big Hunt“Our staff of more than 20 people are all out of a job through at least late April. We kindly ask for any assistance you our dedicated fans can provide, to be split evenly among each and every employee at your favorite dive bar.”

Bossa Bistro“Please contribute to support our amazing Bossa staff.”

Breadsoda“100 percent of the donations raised will go to our staff.”

Brookland’s Finest“The money from this campaign will be distributed to the Brookland’s Finest staff to help offset some financial burden during this COVID-19 global health emergency.”

Call Your Mother and Timber Pizza Co.“All proceeds will go directly to the 145 hourly team members at Call Your Mother Deli, Timber Pizza Company, Turu’s Pizza, and Ballston Service Station.”

CaneAll gift card sales go toward supporting staff. 

The Capital Grille“100 percent of the money donated will go directly to our staff to help them through this difficult time.”

Chaplin’s and Zeppelin“We’re now asking for small donations from as many people as possible in order to reach our goal to support as many of our staff members as we can.”

Charlie Palmer“We will convert funds raised into cash cards and will provide them to our hourly employees.”

Chef Geoff’s“We set up a fund for the over 200 incredible servers, cooks, chefs, bussers, hosts, managers and dishwashers who make our company so special and who are now out of work and struggling to make ends meet.”

City Winery“We plan on monitoring the donations for the next 30 days and will distribute any collect funds equally amongst all temporarily laid off employees.”

Convivial“I am reaching to you to ask for your help to provide for my fantastic team during this difficult time.”

Crown and Crow“To help the staff of the The Crown and Crow weather these challenging times.”

Daikaya Group (Daikaya, Haikan, Bantam King, Hatoba, Tonari“100 percent of donations will go directly to our hourly employees who have been impacted by the layoffs.”

DBGB DC“100 percent of donations here will go to our employees who are no longer able to work and experiencing extraordinary hardship.” 

DC9“All donations from this fund will directly benefit DC9’s staff.”

DC Eagle“Every single dollar will go to a staff member in need, not to the owners or any other financial need of the business.”

DC Improv“To help my staff get through these times, please consider virtual tipping them through this GoFundMe page.”

District Kitchen“100 percent of funds collected will be dispersed among District Kitchen’s staff.”

Duke’s Grocery and Duke’s Counter“All donations will be split evenly among each and every of the 150+ hourly employees at all Duke’s locations. All donors will be recognized in the Duke’s Donor Roll of Honor and will receive a complimentary beer, wine, or cocktail when we re-open.”

Dupont Italian Kitchen“Contributions of any size will be greatly appreciated and will go to those with the most need.”

El Chucho“100 percent of profits will go to furloughed staff.”

Ellē 100 percent of proceeds from this fund, and from gift card sales, will go directly to our staff to help with necessities.”

El Tamarindo“This GoFundMe campaign is to support the El Tamarindo employees.”

Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants (Fiola, Fiola Mare, Del Mar, Sfoglina) “The Fabio Trabocchi Disaster Relief Fund provides small grants of financial aid to assist employees of Fabio Trabocchi Restaurants.” 

The Green Zone“Most of the staff have little recourse to supplement their diminished income, so therefore 100 percent of donations will be given to the Green Zone employees in their time of need.”

The Girl and The Vine“Funds you donate will go directly to support the staff of The Girl & The Vine.” 

H2 Collective Family Fund (American Ice Co., The Brixton, Player’s Club, The Brighton, Marvin, Echo Park, Crimson, El Rey, and more)“We have set up a Family Fund to assist those team members currently displaced.”

Hank’s Oyster BarGift card and t-shirts sales go toward supporting staff members. 

Here’s The Scoop“Please donate during this difficult time of uncertainty for these student employees.” 

HipCityVeg“100 percent of the proceeds will go to [employees], and we’re so grateful for all of your support.”

Hook Hall The Worker’s Relief Fund, in partnership with Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, will support restaurant and food industry employees who may need assistance. 

Izakaya Seki Funds “will go directly toward one month of payroll and payroll expenses to help our employees through this crisis.”

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab and RPM Italian“Our team has set up The Lettuce Entertain You Employee Emergency Relief Fund to contribute to the financial support of our Lettuce team members during this national health emergency.” 

Joselito“Our goal is to reach at least $2000 per individual on our team so they can take care of their families and basic necessities: rent, bills, food, etc.”

Kelly’s Irish Times“All monies will go directly to staff and help them during this impossibly difficult time.”

King Street Oyster Bar“The earnings from this GoFundMe page will be evenly distributed between our three restaurants in Leesburg, Middleburg, and NoMa to help support our employees.”


Le Diplomate and St. Anselm“These funds will be allotted to tipped and hourly waged employees most affected financially by the sudden closure of our restaurants due to the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Le Chat Noir and Le Grenier“The funds will help Le Chat Noir pay their employees.”

Little Red Fox“100 percent of funds raised here will go directly to staff who lost their positions due to the pandemic.”

Logan Tavern, Commissary, and The Pig“All funds raised will be split between Logan Tavern, Commissary & the Pig employees.” 

Lucky Buns“All donations will go straight to our out of work staff to help them sustain through this difficult time.” 

Makan“I’m trying to raise money for the displaced and unemployed employees of the newly opened restaurant Makan.”

Mandu“Any donations placed towards this fund will go directly to our unemployed staff so that they can hopefully remain afloat in these difficult times.” 

Maxwell Park

All money goes to wine bar staff members.

Medium Rare“All monies collected will go directly to paying for food and packaging to deliver meals to folks over 70 in the metro area.”

Momofuku“100 percent of proceeds will go directly toward supporting our teams who need immediate relief as we navigate this crisis.”

Morton’s DC“100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to [staff].” 

Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Hazel, Iron Gate, The Sovereign, Bluejacket, Red Apron, The Partisan, Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, and others)”100 percent of proceeds from this GoFundMe page will go directly toward supporting our teams who need immediate relief as we navigate this crisis.”

The Palm“All funds raised will be split between Palm D.C. employees.”

Pie Shop

Pizzeria Paradiso“All donations will be administered by a group of Pizzeria Paradiso employees to support those of our compadres who need it the most.”

Pom Pom“Every dollar will be used to buy food and other critical supplies for members of our team.” 

PRG Hospitality (Lincoln, Teddy, Declaration)“100 percent of the funds from this campaign will go to supporting the over 110 employees and their families, that are currently without work in the company.”

The Pub and the People & Present Company“This is a direct call to action for the community to come together to help us support our staff members during this pandemic.”

The Pug“Contribute what you can so that The Pug and its small staff of employees can sustain itself during the shutdown.”

Reliable Tavern“The funds will go directly to staff in an effort to keep them safe at home, fed, and healthy.”

Reverie“Help make sure Reverie can continue to grow and we can take care of our team who has helped me bring my dream to a reality.”

Room 11“100 percent of proceeds will be going to employees of Room 11. In particular, we will provide funds to employees who are in the greatest of need or might not be protected by the conventional safety nets of society.”

Rose’s Luxury, Pineapple and Pearls, and Little Pearl “This fund has been set up specifically to address the needs of our most vulnerable workers, to help pay for any medical co-pay fees and address urgent housing issues.”

Shilling Canning Company

Showtime Lounge“All money raised will go directly to Showtime staff.” 

Silver Lyan“This fund is to raise money for the Silver Lyan team, and will distributed directly to all the hourly employees so they can stay on their feet during this unprecedented time.”

Sloppy Mama’s BBQ“The money from this campaign will be distributed to the Sloppy Mama’s BBQ staff equally every two weeks for the duration of our global health emergency.” 

Smoke & Barrel“We will give 100 percent of proceeds to the entire front and back of house team at Smoke & Barrel.”

Songbyrd“100 percent of the funds donated toward our goal will go to supplementing the income of our night-time hourly and gig staff until we can open our doors again to you.”

Sticky Fingers and Fare Well“We have set up this go fund me to raise relief funds for our tipped employees who are experiencing severe cuts to their hours and wages.” 

Stoney’s on L

Street Guys Hospitality (Ambar, Buena Vida, Tacos, Tortas, & Tequila“Street Guys Hospitality is offering an added bonus to the gift card to help us support our ‘Employee Fund’ initiative through April 12, 2020.”

Tail Up Goat and Reveler’s Hour

Taqueria Habanero “We have set up this GoFundMe platform as supplemental help for our servers, food runner, and back of house dishwasher affected by this crisis.” 

Teaism“100 percent of funds raised will go to helping keep our 50+ team members afloat financially during this difficult time.”

ThinkFoodGroup (Zaytinya, Jaleo, Beefsteak, Oyamel, China Chilcano, minibar, barmini, and others) “50 percent of [gift card] proceeds go toward continuing payroll and benefits and 50 percent goes to ThinkFamilyFund for financial relief in hardship.” 

Thip Khao“We are here now to ask our friends, family, supporters and more out there for any donation that will 100% contribute to all of employees to obtain essential necessities.”

Toki Underground“We are reaching out to ask for your support for an amazing crew of dedicated staff who still have bills and rent to pay, kids to feed, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.”

Tosca“We will provide the raised monies to those Tosca employees whose income depend on tips and are willing to accept this assistance.”

Trusty’s“Proceeds will go directly and only towards our staff during this crazy time.”

U Street Music Hall“All donations from this fund will directly benefit U [Street Music] Hall’s staff.”

Wunder Garten“All money raised will go directly to the employees in need to assist with their upcoming rent and other financial responsibilities through this incredibly tough time.”

The Wydown“100 percent of the funds will go directly to our employees.”

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