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American Express Awards $40,000 Grants to Historic Restaurants

NEW YORK — American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have chosen 25 historic and culturally significant restaurants in the U.S. owned by underrepresented groups that will receive funding through the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” Grant Program.

Each restaurant will receive $40,000 in grants funded by American Express and administered by the National Trust. The National Trust will also provide technical assistance to support the use of the grant funds.

The funding will help each restaurant enhance restaurant exteriors, build new outdoor seating areas, and upgrade online businesses to help mitigate operating costs as they work to recover from the financial impacts of the pandemic.

“We are honored to play a role in supporting these historic small restaurants that have served our communities for decades,” said Jennifer Skyler, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, American Express, and Chair of the American Express Foundation. “This program expands on our legacy of backing small businesses by helping to preserve these iconic restaurants and support their recovery from the pandemic so they can continue to welcome customers for years to come.”

“Historic small restaurants are cultural treasures that strengthen their communities and carry their legacies and traditions forward in deeply meaningful ways,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer, National Trust. “These restaurants have demonstrated their resiliency for decades, and even while dealing with the financial impacts of the pandemic, they have continued to support their communities in many ways. We are honored to partner with American Express to help these landmarks write the next chapters in their amazing stories.”

The 25 historic and culturally significant restaurants in the U.S. were selected by American Express, in partnership with the National Trust, with input from a chef advisory committee assembled by Resy including chefs Deborah VanTrece, Edouardo Jordan, and Kwame Onwuachi.

Each restaurant was carefully evaluated based on the program selection criteria.

“Backing Historic Small Restaurants” Grantees



The Four Way Restaurant

Memphis, Tenn.

Dooky Chase Restaurant

New Orleans, La.

Stutts House of Bar-B-Q

Tulsa, Okla.

Suehiro Café

Los Angeles, Calif.

Maneki Restaurant

Seattle, Wash.

Casa Vicky

San Jose, Calif.

Chinatown Garden

Washington, D.C.

La Posta de Mesilla

Mesilla, N.M.

Daddy Dz BBQ Joynt

Atlanta, Ga.

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Washington, D.C.

John’s Place

Cookeville, Tenn.

Alfreda’s Soul Food

Houston, Texas

Kegel’s Inn

Milwaukee, Wis.

Galloways Landing Bar & Restaurant

Boquerón, Puerto Rico

Tex Miller’s Hamburgers

Cameron, Texas

Historic Neir’s Tavern

New York, N.Y.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

Detroit, Mich.

Nakato Japanese Restaurant

Atlanta, Ga.

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods

New York, N.Y.

Sweetheart Cafe & Tea

Oakland, Calif.

El Cristo Restaurant

Miami, Fla.

Harold & Belle’s Restaurant

Los Angeles, Calif.

Wanda J’s Next Generation Soul Food Restaurant

Tulsa, Okla.

La Fonda El Taquito

Kansas City, Mo.

Ray’s Luncheonette Inc.

Montclair, N.J.

As part of the grant program, American Express’ partners will also provide support to these historic small restaurants in areas their businesses need most.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this outstanding initiative and support these historic restaurants with innovative products and services that will help them pivot to doing business in new ways,” said Stacey Marx, President, AT&T National Business & Channels. “These are places just down the street where our communities come together, and we’re honored to help them build brand loyalty through a digital customer experience.”