Another round: The California Restaurant Foundation offers grants to independent SoCal restaurants

Anna Barron, with Cambalache Grill Argentine and Italian Cuisine, does prep work in April 2023.
Anna Barron, with Cambalache Grill Argentine and Italian Cuisine in Fountain Valley, does prep work in April 2023. Cambalache Grill has received support from the Restaurant Cares resilience fund in the past.
(File Photo)

The California Restaurant Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on California’s hospitality industry, opened applications for the second time in 2023 for grants from its Restaurants Care Resilience Fund.

“As a part of our continued commitment to bolstering California’s lively and diverse restaurant community, we are excited to open Resilience Fund applications for the second time this year and reach even more deserving restaurant owners eagerly searching for a helping hand,” said Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation.

The foundation will award $5,000 grants to 182 independent restaurants across the state this fall.


The Restaurants Care Resilience Fund was launched in 2021 in response to the financial blow the restaurant industry suffered during the lockdowns in response to COVID-19. The fund awarded 318 grants to independent restaurant owners in eight California counties, but Orange County restaurants were not eligible to apply. The following year the fund opened up to O.C. eating establishments, and the number of grants awarded increased to 356.

Among the recipients that year was Georgia’s Restaurant, a soul food concept at the Anaheim Packing House, which received a $3,000 grant.

“It is very exciting to hear that we got it,” Georgia’s co-owner, Nika Shoemaker-Machado, told TimesOC in June 2022, “because it is welcomed assistance.”

In the spring of this year, the Resilience Fund program awarded $5,000 grants to be applied to technology adoption, equipment upgrades, employee onboarding and retention, or unforeseen hardships.

Fountain Valley’s Cambalache Grill Argentine and Italian Cuisine was among those to receive the support, and owner Teresa Razo told the Daily Pilot she would reapply for the grant if it was available.

“Nowadays, everything helps, and especially when it’s that amount of money,” said Razo in April this year.

The second round of grants is made possible by a donation from SoCalGas, the PG&E Corp. Foundation and San Diego Gas and Electric.

“Our deepest gratitude to SoCalGas, the PG&E Foundation and SDG&E, whose ongoing generosity has allowed us to help over 1,100 independent restaurants since 2021,” said Harshfield. “We are ready to meet our next cohort of 182 restaurant owners looking to improve their business for the long-term.”

Resilience Fund applications are open at until Wednesday, Nov. 8, to all California-based restaurant owners located in the utility companies’ service areas. In order to qualify, restaurant must have been open for at least one year, with less than five units and less than $3 million in revenue. While priority will be given to restaurants that have not yet received a grant, previous recipients are welcome to reapply.

Additionally, the Resilience Fund is accepting donations to continue its support of California’s restaurant community.