Family-owned Crest Cafe in Hillcrest receives grant from Barstool Fund. Photo via @CrestCafeHillcrest Facebook

The Crest Cafe, a family-owned restaurant in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood that has been struggling to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic, was awarded a $45,000 grant from The Barstool Fund, it was announced Monday.

The fund was created in mid-December as a small business COVID-19 relief organization by Dave Portnoy, founder and president of Barstool Sports, a New York City-based digital media company focused on sports and pop culture content.

He said he started the fund with $500,000 of his own money, and has since raised more than $27.2 million from more than 191,000 supporters, allowing the fund to make grants to 147 small businesses, including The Crest Cafe.

Businesses in other Southern California cities such as Riverside, Torrance, Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Corona, Whittier, Northridge, and Encino have also received grants. The Crest Cafe is the first grantee in San Diego County.

The Crest Cafe will receive $15,000 a month for three months. In business for 38 years, the cafe has faced numerous challenges since last March, when stay-at-home orders were first issued, the owners said.

Like other eateries, the cafe had to transition to carry-out and delivery only, to partial inside and outside dining, to only outside dining and back to carry-out only in less than a year due to changing state and local guidelines. The business has also invested in numerous safety protocols to ensure the health and wellness of staff and customers.

Founded by family patriarch Luis Moreno in 1982, co-owners Cecelia Moreno and her brother Ruben Medina feared they might have to close the doors and end the restaurant’s nearly four-decade run without immediate financial assistance.

Receiving the grant funding was a welcome relief to the siblings and Medina’s son, Enrique, who manages the eatery.

“This is the good part of the day when I get to call guys like you and tell them that we want to help out,” Portnoy said on a call to the younger Medina on Monday. “You’re the exact type of business we’re looking for — 38 years, family run — was it your uncle who started it? You’re in San Diego,
tough place I’m sure. California is one of the hardest for restaurants and bar businesses.”

Small businesses can apply for grant funding at

— City News Service

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