SAN FRANCISCO - Longtime San Francisco restaurant Tia Margarita received crucial help from the Barstool Fund, a virtual campaign for small businesses that Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy launched last month. His goal is to support businesses struggling during the pandemic.
The Mexican restaurant that opened in the Richmond District in 1963 learned Saturday that they’re one of the latest small businesses to receive financial help from the fund. As of Monday, the campaign had raised over $27 million and supported 146 small businesses since going live on Dec. 17.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart," said Jennifer Corwin, third-generation owner of the award-winning restaurant. "My whole family thanks you and so does my grandma, who’s watching. I know she’s happy and I know she’s proud."
Corwin emailed Portnoy and touched on what it takes to survive as a restaurant in a pricey city. She noted other relics, including recently-closed Cliff House and Tadich Grill, which the Barstool Fund helped out earlier this month.
Corwin said survival was possible when San Francisco allowed outdoor dining. Her push to ask for help came in response to new coronavirus restrictions that halted patio seating in early December.
On Saturday, Portnoy surprised Corwin with the news in a video chat. Through tears, the restaurant owner expressed gratitude and inspiration.
"If Tia Margarita makes it, and I know we will and I’ll do anything I can, I want to be like you. I want to make a difference and help you if I can," Corwin said.
Coverage: COVID-19 and the economy
Portnoy said the idea to help small businesses happened organically and he saw an opportunity to use the digital media company’s large platform. He assured Corwin that the financial assistance will last until the nation gets control of the pandemic.
"You’ll have the funds in like 72 hours and every month we’ll get in contact with you to make sure you’re okay," Portnoy said. "We’ll be there until the pandemic is done and you can go back to running your business."
Companies can apply for assistance via email.