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15 NKY Restaurants Win Grants from New Relief Fund

Fifteen local establishments were named as the first grant recipients from the NKY Restaurant Relief Fund, an effort pushed by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed, and Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky.

Each of the fifteen restaurants will receive $1,000.

The fund was announced last week to benefit the businesses which have been hit hard by the economic slowdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent social-distancing mandates. 

To nominate a restaurant, a customer would purchase at least $50 worth of a gift card/gift certificate, and then upload a copy of their receipt to the website created for the project.

Restaurants can be nominated multiple times, increasing their chances to win, but can only win once.

Grants are chosen through random drawing.

Organizers said that roughly $35,000 in sponsor or individual contributions have been made to the fund, with $15,000 in grants announced on Thursday.

The first round of NKY Restaurant Relief Fund grant recipients included:

1. The Block Deli (Crescent Springs)
2. Bouquet Restaurant (Covington)
3. Braxton Brewing Co. (Covington)
4. Camporosso (Fort Mitchell)
5. Commonwealth Bistro (Covington)
6. Frida 602 (Covington)
7. Grandview Tavern (Fort Mitchell)
8. Izzy's (Florence)
9. Knotty Pine on the Bayou (Wilder)
10. Libby's Southern Comfort (Covington)
11. Piper's Café (Covington)
12. Reality Tuesday Café (Park Hills)
13. Ripple Wine Bar (Covington)
14. Skyline Chili – (Taylor Mill)
15. Skyline Chili (Ft. Wright)


“We are so humbled by the outpouring of generosity from the NKY Chamber, NKY Tri-ED, Horizon Community Funds, and our patrons during these unprecedented times,” said grant recipient Colleen Haws, Founder & CEO of Grandview Tavern. “This NKY Restaurant Relief Fund grant will be used to continue to provide Fresh Carryout Food and we will also be providing a meal to our first responders at St. Elizabeth. We can’t thank Susie Hilliard of Twin Oaks Golf Course her husband Mark, enough for making this possible.”

As an added bonus, gift card/gift certificate purchasers will also have a chance to be rewarded, too. Ultimate Air Shuttle donated a pair of airline tickets that will be awarded to one gift card/gift certificate purchaser during the next NKY Spotlight podcast, which will air at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 23 (hosted by Kathrine Nero, who announced Thursday's winners).

Receipts for the next winners’ pool must be uploaded to the NKY Restaurant Relief Fund website by midnight Wednesday, April 22, in order to be eligible for the airline tickets, as well as the grants.

NKY Chamber President and CEO Brent Cooper said that he is “ecstatic” about what the outpouring of support for the fund says about the Northern Kentucky region.

“At a time when so many businesses, restaurants especially, are struggling through no fault of their own, the outpouring of support by our community shows just how special and strong Northern Kentucky truly is,” Cooper said. “We have a long road, so to speak, ahead of us but this is a re-affirmation of what we have told our members at this time: You are not alone as we are all in this together. We are confident next week’s announcement will re-affirm that commitment, too.”

Tri-ED President and CEO Lee Crume hopes today’s announcement inspires others to help the fund reach its original goal of $50,000 – and beyond.

“The amount of gift cards purchased and donations to the NKY Restaurant Relief Fund so far have surpassed our expectations and show how strong our Northern Kentucky community is,” said Crume. “Our region is stepping up to this challenge and the support shown for our restaurants and bars lets our entrepreneurs and their staff know how much they mean to all of us. This effort is a shining example of our region’s generosity. We hope the momentum continues.”
 
Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson said the fund has allowed for people to support more than just their favorite establishment for food and drink, too.

“In addition to supporting our local restaurants and bars, we have seen companies as well as individuals buying gift cards as a ‘thank you’ to our healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers,” said Grayson. “It’s long been said that meals bring people together; now, they are bringing our entire region together in an unprecedented fashion.”

“We are absolutely moved by this gesture of goodwill," said grant recipient Tess Burns, who owns Commonwealth Bistro with her husband, Chris Burns. "Thank you to the NKY Chamber for this generous program, and for those who purchased gift cards and nominated us. We are incredibly grateful, and can't wait to get back to serving the community we love so much.”
 
“Thank you so much to everyone who made this grant possible,” said grant recipient Stephen Williams, director of operations at Bouquet Restaurant. “The NKY Restaurant Relief Fund grant will be used to help get Bouquet back up and running over the next two weeks. We’ve got to restock everything, buy to-go boxes and get the new ways of doing business setup.”

“I’d like to thank the organizers of the NKY Restaurant Relief Fund for their generosity during these difficult times,” said grant recipient John Geisen, president and CEO of Izzy’s. “We are very appreciative of their efforts to help support local businesses like Izzy’s and others that can use the assistance during this pandemic. I would also like to thank our wonderful customers who have supported us and continue to support us with efforts like these. I truly feel that we have the best fans who have stuck with us for a long time, and it’s these efforts that continue to keep us going.”

“It’s things like this that give us hope and make us feel needed in the community,” said grant recipient Brad Wainscott, owner of Libby’s Southern Comfort. “We can’t thank you enough.”

“This will go a long way helping us to pay employees and purchase food,” said grant recipient Tom Rauen, who owns the Block Deli with his wife Conna. “In these trying times, it's so good to see so many people stepping up to help small businesses survive. We want to thank all of our loyal customers and the NKY Restaurant Relief Fund for making this possible.”

-Staff report

Photo: Piper's Cafe in Mainstrasse Village