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LA’s Smaller Restaurants Were Denied Relief Funds While Large Operators Received Millions

Plus, mandatory vaccines for city employees, LA’s love of cacio e pepe, and a new Wahlburgers location

Don Tahara, right, owner of Far Bar restaurant on 1st St. in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, gives a tour of his establishment to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Don Tahara, right, owner of Far Bar restaurant on 1st St. in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, gives a tour of his establishment to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Back in May, the Small Business Administration announced that $2.7 billion of federal grant relief funds were dispersed to 21,000 restaurants nationwide via the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The RRF was designed to help smaller businesses through the pandemic in the form of grants, and SBA encouraged restaurants to apply. Now that the grant disbursement information is public, the data shows that many of Los Angeles’s higher-end and chain restaurants received funds, while smaller independent ones were left out.

KTLA-5 revealed a handful of Los Angeles restaurants that received the grant money, including $10 million for Lucky Strike Lanes, and the same amount for both hotel management company Windsor Capital Group Inc, and Boiling Point restaurant, which has 12 locations in Southern California.

Though many larger organizations received RRF funds, plenty of independent operators were able to secure grants, including $1.5 million for the historic Tiki-Ti bar, $9,799.77 for Jitlada, $241,898 for Spoke Bicycle Cafe, $1,010,800 for Line Tavern in Eagle Rock, and $2,679,219.03 for A.O.C. in Brentwood.

In other news:

  • Government officials in Long Beach and Los Angeles now require that city employees must receive a mandatory vaccination or show a weekly negative COVID-19 test. Pasadena implemented a similar mandate a week ago.
  • It’s safe to say that cacio e pepe is one of LA’s most revered pasta dishes, and it’s possible that chef Evan Funke had something to do with it, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • In Long Beach, two popular restaurants closed permanently, writes the Long Beach Post. Bixby’s Brooklyn Deli closed only two days before the 20-year-old George’s Place.
  • The California Labor Commissioner cited three El Super grocery stores for not providing COVID-19 sick leave for their employees. The company now owes employees $447,836 in wages, damages, and interest for failing to provide California mandated COVID-19 leave. These stores forced workers to take shifts while sick and apply for unemployment while quarantining or while in isolation.
  • Wahlburgers owners and brothers Mark, Donnie, and Paul Wahlberg opened a new location at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon just outside of Palm Springs.

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