CHICAGO (CBS) — A surprise check from the state is giving a Chicago restaurant a second chance.
CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reports the far northwest side cafe reopened their doors after being closed for nearly two months.READ MORE: Chicago's Famed Palmer House Reopens With Millions Of Dollars In Renovations
“I mean, it’s the middle of January. If you’re going to launch a business, this is not when you’d want to do it.”
Stephanie Rybandt said she really didn’t have a choice.
“We have Business Interruption Grant money and they were like you better stay solvent and be in business to use it.”
Rybandt is the owner of Fannie’s Cafe. That notice, arriving in December, weeks after Rybandt’s business, Fannie’s Café, had shuttered in November.
“I get an e-mail that says, ‘Congratulations! Here’s how to spend your grant money.’ And I’m like wait, what,” wondered Rybandt, who thought it may have been a scam.
Rybandt said she had applied for a Business Interruption Grant (BIG) in October. She had gone through her PPP money, and like so many small businesses, sales were suffering. She eventually reached out to the governor’s office who told her all the grant money had been allocated.
So she made the hard choice to turn off her ovens and close her doors.READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Declares Racism A Public Health Crisis In Chicago; 'It Is Literally Killing Us'
“We said thank you everyone, and we closed,” Rybandt said.
But after receiving confirmation that Fannie’s received $25,000 dollars in grant money, she decided it was time to get cooking once again.
“At this point, I was like well, we have to completely re-start. We had packed up everything. Everyone was gone,” Rybandt said.
Since reopening Friday morning, there has been a steady stream of customers eager to once again get their Fannie’s fix.
“When I finally got the news that they would be reopening, I put in a huge order to pick up. We’re really excited that they’re back and we’re really excited to dig in,” said customer Janine Grandsart.
Rybandt said the grant money and ability to reopen has given her optimism and energy, but it’s the familiar faces that’s the real icing on the cake.
“That’s really valuable and we’re very grateful.”MORE NEWS: CTA Stops Will Soon Be Vaccination Stations Throughout The City
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