Six Logan Square businesses received $5,000 DoorDash Chicago winterization grants to provide financial support through the pandemic, which has proved catastrophic for many neighborhood establishments.
Grants went to Caribella (3311 W. Fullerton Ave.), Sip of Hope Coffee Bar (3039 W. Fullerton Ave.), Billy Sunday (3143 W. Logan Blvd.), Park & Field (3509 W. Fullerton Ave.), Daisies (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and Ryuu Asian BBQ (2766 N. Milwaukee Ave.). The winning businesses can direct the funds toward buying heating equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and more, a DoorDash press release said.
The grants provide support to these establishments as the downturn in business during the pandemic has forced the temporary or permanent closure of some Logan Square restaurants. That includes SABA Italian Bar + Kitchen (2715 N. Milwaukee Ave.), which announced this month that it was closed until further notice; Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie Ave.) and Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.), which closed temporarily in November; Revolution Brewpub (2323 N Milwaukee Ave), which said in October it would close for the winter; and Crown Liquors, which closed for good in April.
“We have all the heart, but the heart doesn’t pay the bills,” said Nancy Cruz, owner of Caribella, a Caribbean-inspired brunch restaurant.
Cruz said she will put the grant money toward creating a safe outdoor dining space. “The focus will be patio heaters and also think[ing] of ways to partially enclose [the outdoor space] so that people are getting a bit of warmth but aren’t enclosed to the point where it’s not safe for them to eat there anymore,” she said.
For Cruz, Caribella is much more than a business: She opened the restaurant after her daughter’s father, who had opened Café Bella at the same location, passed away, leading Cruz to convert Café Bella into Caribella, she said. “Bella” in both restaurants’ names refers to Cruz’s daughter, Isabella, who is now 21 and works at the restaurant, Cruz added.
“We absolutely are grateful for any help we can get so we can survive the winter in more ways than one,” Cruz said.
Sip of Hope is also far more to its owner and community than just a café, said founder Jonny Boucher. He created Sip of Hope in May 2018 as the nation’s first coffee shop putting 100% of its proceeds toward proactive suicide prevention and mental health education.
Boucher said the coffee shop is also a safe place for customers and employees to talk about mental health. “During a time when everyone was told to go home, it was really hard to not have that [emotional support],” Boucher said.
Sip of Hope closed initially in March as the pandemic came to Chicago, Boucher said. Now, the shop is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. “It’s been hard because we’re not making nearly the amount of money that we once were,” Boucher said. “Even though there was support that came, those [sources] have all run out, and that’s why this grant is really nice.” The café raised more than $65,000 during a GoFundMe community fundraising campaign in the spring.
With the new DoorDash grant money, Boucher said he can keep Sip of Hope open and ensure the highest level of safety for the shop’s employees and customers. “It allows us to provide a safe environment for our community. That is something that is so important to us because we understand that times are rough.”
Johnny Boucher, Sip of Hope founder. Photo: Tom Vlodek
The DoorDash grants come as the Chicago City Council approved a 15% cap on the service fees that a third-party delivery service like DoorDash can charge restaurants, Eater reported. DoorDash has since introduced a Chicago Fee to DoorDash orders, charging customers to continue offering “convenient delivery while ensuring that Dashers are active and earning,” DoorDash said.
Featured photo: Zachary Keltner