More Dallas Restaurants Closed as Relief Aid Slowly Starts to Trickle In

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As I wrote in last week’s News Bites, what happens now may very well determine what the future of Dallas dining looks like. In the last five weeks, several restaurants pivoted to delivery, takeout, impromptu marketplace pop-ups, family meal kit purveyors, or any combination thereof. While it’s heartening to see businesses get gritty and creative, all of that energy is hard to sustain. It’s already taken a toll on so many restaurants.

Early on, restaurants like Lucia and Macellaio closed to assess how to run a takeout operation that’s still a safe work environment for employees. Other restaurants are closing, either due to the financial pinch or with the safety of their workers in mind, or a little bit of both.

We’ve seen so many people, organizations, and newly-formed nonprofits step up to help the industry. That’s still important and I have no doubt the community will continue to do so for as long as it’s able. But Texas’ food service industry accounts for 1.3 million jobs. That’s huge, and it requires help of equal proportions.
Restaurants Are Closing. Some May Come Back and Some Might Not.
I don’t want to sugarcoat the situation. The truth is we don’t know whether the industry will recover. As D Magazine’s Eve Hill-Agnus reported this week, Khao Noodle Shop, one of Dallas’ most recently celebrated restaurants, is closing on Saturday. Khao tried takeout but it’s hardly sustainable, both financially and mentally. Chef-owner Donny Sirisavath tells D that he plans on using this time to offer prepackaged food items for takeaway in addition to snacks.

And Sirisavath’s certainly not alone in making the hard decision to close. Gems like Ten Bells Tavern closed and launched a fundraiser to cover its basic costs. Dallas Morning News also covered about Khao’s closure and noted at least 10 other closed restaurants at the end of that article.

Financial Aid Is Slowly Coming

On Monday, a press release from Gov. Greg Abbott’s office stated that $50 million in loans will be issued to small businesses in Texas. Those loans, says the governor, will either be partially or entirely forgiven if certain as-of-yet unreleased stipulations are met. While the idea of loans and the prospect of incurring more debt seems perhaps counterintuitive, the release says the loans “made through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), will primarily be used for payroll so that employees can continue to receive paychecks and small businesses can retain their employees.”

Plano-based Bellagreen, which has locations through the state, is an early recipient of the Payroll Protection Program loan, and it reopened its Park and Preston outpost today. So the relief in the form of loans seem to slowly be trickling in. Stay tuned to SideDish as we cover this story in more depth. And if you’re a woman-owned business, you can apply for Texas Woman’s University’s AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant for $10,000

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