These 6 Businesses Are Helping Build a Better IndustryMaggie Borden
April 02, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the restaurant industry, permanently shuttering 17 percent of restaurants nationwide, and revealing inequities and vulnerabilities baked into the foundation of these businesses. But there is hope on the horizon, as vaccines roll out and more food professionals are immunized. At the James Beard Foundation, we’re looking forward with optimism, while also striving to provide resources and tools to help the industry recover and rebuild with equity and sustainability at its heart.
A key part of our efforts to support and rebuild the industry is the Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans. Over the past few months we’ve disbursed grants of $15,000 each to 37 independent businesses across the country, who are not only using the funds to keep the lights on or rehire staff laid off during the pandemic, but to grow as leaders in their communities and beyond. For the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing our grantees, from their menus to their local impact. Read on for inspiring stories and delicious dishes, and learn more about supporting the Investment Fund here.
D.C. Metro Area
Food By Sani is a Black women–owned food truck and catering business located in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Founder Sani Felicia Hough draws inspiration from her travels across the globe, offering up an eclectic menu that ranges from jerk pork tacos to crab cake eggrolls and beyond. Hough was slated to be a vendor in five food festivals in 2020 before COVID-19 canceled those appearances, forcing her to pivot to cooking out of a commercial kitchen and offering curbside pickup. Hough’s truck is now back in action, and she hopes to use part of the grant to offer an appreciation day to all the customers who stayed loyal to her throughout the pandemic.
2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY
484 Salina St., Syracuse, NY
At the beginning of 2020, Dreamer Glen was planning on starting a new phase for her catering company, Miss Prissy’s. The business had made it through a competitive application process to nab a food stall at the new Salt City Market in downtown Syracuse. Then COVID-19 hit, and Miss Prissy’s lost all their income, forcing Glen to lay off staff, delay the opening of the stall three times, and shift to takeout/delivery and community feeding. Over the course of the pandemic, Miss Prissy’s prepared over 16,000 meals for populations in need. Now officially open in Salt City Market, Miss Prissy’s is offering its “creative, colorful twists on traditional Southern dishes” for curbside pickup.
19520 Waters Rd., Germantown, MD
Provisions Café and Market is a family-owned neighborhood café in Germantown, Maryland, offering up a menu of fresh-baked breads, cakes, quiches, and more. Owner Saran Toby opened Provisions to provide a space for the community outside of the chain restaurants in town, and the café has grown a loyal base of customers enamored with its signature, Trinidadian-inflected dishes like their rum caramel cake and jerk chicken salad. The restaurant is currently open for curbside pickup and holiday and event catering.