Two Loudoun Restaurants Win VA Travel Association Grants

Two Loudoun restaurants were among the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association’s selectees for 2021 DoorDash Restaurant Operator Relief Grants.

More than 690 restaurants in Virginia applied for the grants, which awarded $3,500 each to 128 businesses across the state—including Lost Fox Hideaway and The Difference Baker, both in Ashburn.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business for my whole life—this restaurant was the first opportunity I had to own and operate a business myself, and I invested all of my life savings to build it.Construction finished almost exactly when COVID hit, and as a result, I could not open it,”saidJonathan Ball, owner ofThe Lost Fox Hideaway.“I was able to open in a very limited basis in December 2020, and, so far, the feedback has been tremendous from the local community.”

I closed our doors on March 13, 2020 and didn’t reopen until April 13, 2020. We had no online presence, ordering process, or delivery services at all,” saidAlyssa Marie Sobecki, owner of The Difference Baker.“I had to create my website and online shop in a matter of 24 hours, and started delivering and offering multiple pick-up locations.”

Her bakery and bistro is free from gluten, soy, peanuts, treenuts, fish and crustaceans.

“Since we are such a niche business concept, we fill a huge void in being able to serve the allergen community,” Sobecki said. “People from all over Maryland, DC, and West Virginia come to our shop since we are one of a kind.”

Across the state, $450,000 in grant money was awarded.

The grants were for businesses with no more than three locations, with 50 or fewer employees and annual gross revenue of $3 million or less for the brick-and-mortar location applied for, and which experienced a reduction in revenue, financial stress, or disrupted operations from March 2020 through December 2020.

In choosing the recipients, judges considered the impact of the pandemic and the ways the business has adapted, the personal story of the business owner, the role the organization plays in their community, and how the grant funds will be used. Priority was given to women-, veteran-, minority-, and disability-owned businesses as well as those which have not received significant pandemic-related financial support from federal, state, or local sources.

The initiative is part of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong Pledge, which included a $10 million grant effort in select cities, counties, and states across the U.S. and Canada, according to a press release.

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