SBA announces new lifeline for restaurants impacted by the pandemic

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT
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IRONDALE, Ala. (WBRC) - The Small Business Administration has announced a new lifeline for restaurants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Raquel Ervin, the owner and chef of Eat At Panoptic in Irondale, said she is excited about this new program because it prioritizes women, veterans, and other minorities.

“It’s been very heart-wrenching to see business and fellow chefs and people that I know in this city have to close their doors.”

Ervin started her catering business in 2014, and later opened a food truck. She said staying afloat during the pandemic has been tough.

“The catering company struggled right away. Instantly, events disappeared. People were unable to house events and large gatherings. That was a major blow for me, having predominantly a catering business, it made me have to rethink this whole thing,” Ervin explained.

She said her ability to adapt her business and being a good steward over her finances is what’s helped her business survive.

Now, she’s opening a brick and mortar restaurant on Saturday in Irondale and said she’s thankful she qualifies for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a federally funded program which provides more than $28 billion in direct relief money to restaurants impacted by the pandemic.

“This is a male-driven industry that I am in. It’s been like that since I’ve known it to be, but it is very exciting to see that SBA and the government and people like that are taking us into consideration and taking us seriously” Ervin said.

The SBA will begin registrations for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund on Friday, April 30th at 8 a.m., and open applications for the program on Monday, May 3rd at 11 a.m.

For more information, visit or in Spanish at

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