31 area restaurants OK’d for Covid relief grants worth $4.2 million

By Cynthia Prairie
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Thirty-one restaurants, bars and food trucks from Bellows Falls to Manchester, including four in Chester, have been approved to receive portions of the $28.6 billion federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund to help them recover from the effects of restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.  The total funding those 31 regional businesses were approved for is $4.228 million, $709,882 of which is earmarked for four Chester businesses.

Restaurants, inns and tourist businesses were particularly hard-hit during the height of Covid-19, since gatherings, dining in and travel have been severely curtailed and options had been limited to take out and delivery. That not only impacts the owners, the diners and the suppliers but also the cooks, waitstaff and support staff.

Deb and Alan Brown are grateful for the Covid relief grant from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund to keep their pub and restaurant going. Photos by Cynthia Prairie

Deb and Alan Brown of MacLaomainn’s Scottish Pub on Main Street in Chester applied for a grant of slightly more than $220,000.  Said Deb Brown in an interview on Tuesday, earlier in the pandemic, the restaurant received two federal loans/grants “which allowed us to keep our full time and permanent staff on … doing whatever was needed,” including maintenance. “Because business had dropped to 15 percent to 20 percent, when (the state) cut down dining to one household per table, we were bleeding money.”

Since Late February and the beginning of March, Brown says, “We’ve been holding our own.”  Then the Browns applied for the Restaurant Revitalization grant, and one morning, “One Credit (Union) called to say that ‘someone’s trying to put a large amount of money into your account. Is this OK?’ ” Brown said she responded, “Yes please. That was the first we heard we got it and it was a huge relief. It was the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Brown says, “Some people might think that it (the grant) is a lot of money, but that is just what we have lost.”

It’s now been 15 months since MacLaomainn’s and other restaurants closed down completely for three months.  “And technically,” says Alan Brown, “we haven’t opened 100 percent because we don’t have the staff (to fill the hours) and because of the the seating guidelines.” MacLaomainn’s is a small restaurant and bar with a warm, pub-like feel that is currently open just five days a week, closing by 8 every night. Despite deck seating, the space is limited. The Browns have gone from seating for 80, inside and out, to 50, or 62.5 percent of its original capacity. And in the restaurant business, butts in seats is crucial.

The grant program was announced in late April and businesses had to apply through the Small Business Administration, which also administers the grant funds. The program used up its entire allocation was closed earlier this month.

In total, the federal government is distributing $28.6 billion to 101,004 food and beverage related business throughout all 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Those businesses can include restaurants, bars, caterers, food stands, trucks or carts, bakeries, brew pubs, wineries and distilleries among others.

The Top 3 recipients by state are:

  • California with 15,988 establishments receiving a total of $5.7 billion
  • New York with 9,775 receiving $3.66 billion and
  • Texas with 6,406 receiving $1.67 billion.

The Bottom 3 are:

  • Wyoming with 125 establishments receiving $18 million
  • South Dakota with 194 receiving $25.7 million and
  • North Dakota with 171 receiving $25.9 million.

In Vermont, 366 food and beverage establishments, out of 947 applicants, were approved to receive a total of $77 million. Nationally, the SBA received 278,304, approving 101,004. The overall average grant size in the United States and territories is $283,000, according to the SBA.

The largest grant in the state — for $ 4.2 million — went to a restaurant registered to Tygate Motel Corp. in South Burlington. The smallest — for $2,172 — went to a food stand/truck/cart operation in Essex Junction.

According to the SBA, the funds are to be used for:

  • Business payroll costs (including sick leave)
  • Payments on any business mortgage obligation
  • Business rent payments (note: this does not include prepayment of rent)
  • Business debt service (both principal and interest; note: this does not include any prepayment of principal or interest)
  • Business utility payments
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Construction of outdoor seating
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
  • Business food and beverage expenses (including raw materials)
  • Covered supplier costs
  • Business operating expenses

Below is the list of area establishments that qualified for grants, taken directly from the SBA list. To search through all the grants awarded, click here.

Business Name & AddressTownBusiness TypeGrant Amount
MacLaomainn's LLC
52 S. Main St.
ChesterBar, Saloon, Lounge,
Tavern & Restaurant
291 Pleasant St.
ChesterBar, Saloon, Lounge,
Tavern & Restaurant
P&Js Country Kitchen
46 Route 103 South
698 Route 11 W.
ChesterInn & Restaurant$101,975.00
Manzana Inc.
95 Middletown Road
South LondonderryRestaurant$189,391.89
MKT: Grafton
162 Main St.
Cheryl James
265 Depot St.
ProctorsvilleBakery & Restaurant$93,939.01
KMS Inc.
164 Main St.
Tavola Ristorante Inc.
68 VT Route 100 N.
Ambrosia LLC
207 Main St.
LudlowSnack & Nonalcoholic Beverage Bar$121,665.75
46 Depot Street Annex LLC
46 Depot St.
CS McGhie Corp./Sweet Surrender Bakery
453 Colby Pond Road
Black Rock Steakhouse
284 River St.
Rusted Roof LLC
56 Main St.
Flying Crow Coffee Co. LLC
3 Main St.
SpringfieldSnack & Nonalcoholic Beverage Bar
Wentworth Financial Group Inc.
65 Springfield Plaza Road
SpringfieldFood Stand, Food Truck, Food Cart$5,272.00
John Leslie Corp.
660 Rockingham Road
Wunderbar LLC
22 Rockingham St.
Bellows FallsRestaurant$272,894.82
Popolo Restaurant Group Inc.
36 The Square
Bellows FallsRestaurant$268,837.00
Ecological Industries
24 Rockingham St.
Bellows FallsRestaurant$130,742.00
Rydon Inc.
65 Rockingham St.
Bellows FallsBar, Saloon, Lounge, Tavern & Restaurant$125,474.00
Route 7 Restaurant Associates of New England Inc.
3912 Main St.
The Silver Fork
48 West Road
North Country Ice Cream Inc.
Ben & Jerry's
454 Depot St.
ManchesterFood Stand, Food Truck, Food Cart$8,809.90
Italian Cuisine Inc.
1610 Depot St
Manchester CenterRestaurant$192,751.00
Green Mountain Country Dining LLC
4961 Main St. Suite 2
Manchester CenterSnack and Nonalcoholic
Beverage Bar & Caterer
& Restaurant
4746 Main St.
Manchester CenterRestaurant$113,536.00
6458 Main Street Inc.
6458 Main St
Manchester CenterInn & Restaurant$96,087.50
Social House LLC
1716 Depot St.
Manchester CenterBar, Saloon,
Lounge, Tavern & Restaurant
May Stannard
4479 Main St
Manchester CenterRestaurant$11,340.00
Mrs. Murphy's Donut Inc.
350 Carlen St.
Manchester CenterBakery &
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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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  1. Jack Carroll says:

    This is incredible news for the hard working Restaurant folks in our area.
    They all work very hard and love what they do. We are blessed to have all of you in our town.
    Best of luck to all of you.