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Goldbelly launches fund to help reopen 100 indies shuttered during the pandemic

The Local Legends Fund will help independent operators with needed repairs and upgrades to keep their doors open for local business as well as nationwide shipping through the e-commerce platform.
Jones Bar-B-Q
Photo courtesy of Jones Bar-B-Q

Restaurant e-commerce platform Goldbelly is on a mission to revive 100 iconic local restaurants that shuttered because of the pandemic or other factors.

The company on Thursday announced the Goldbelly Local Legends Fund to support “beloved neighborhood gems” that shuttered due to “unexpected challenges,” according to a statement on its website from founder and CEO Joe Ariel.

A Goldbelly representative told Restaurant Business the fund is currently "uncapped" and that its goal is to provide 100 restaurants with the "equipment, resources, industry expertise and/or capital they need to ensure they come back stronger than before."

The program is accepting applications from restaurants, as well as outside nominations. To apply, restaurants are asked to share their story, iconic dishes and the reason why they should be selected.

Goldbelly’s program has already aided a half dozen independent restaurants, including Jones Bar-B-Q. The award-winning restaurant, in Marianna, Ark., was nearly destroyed by fire early this year. Owner James Jones started working at the barbecue legend more than 60 years ago, and his restaurant is believed to be the oldest Black-owned restaurant in Arkansas.

Goldbelly donated new smokers to Jones Bar-B-Q, which combined with more than $20,000 raised in a GoFundMe campaign, helped the restaurant reopen this week. Jones’ pulled pork is available for nationwide shipping via Goldbelly.

So far, Goldbelly’s Local Legends fund has also assisted New York City restaurant Lloyd’s Carrot Cake with new equipment and store updates after it closed following the death of owner Betty Campbell-Adams last year.

Also helped by the fund was Philadelphia’s John’s Roast Pork. Goldbelly donated shipping infrastructure and on-site storage to the restaurant, which had shuttered because of the pandemic.

Dumpling shop Ms Chi Café in Los Angeles received money from the fund for physical upgrades to the restaurant after closing at the start of the pandemic.

All of the restaurants helped by the Goldbelly fund have dishes available to ship via the platform.

In May, Goldbelly received a $100 million investment to fuel its growth. In 2018, the company received $20 million in funding from a group led by restaurateur Danny Meyer.

Goldbelly currently sells dishes from more than 850 restaurants on its platform.


This story has been updated to include a comment from Goldbelly. 

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