Que Rico restaurant in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood received a monthly grant of $ 15,000 from the Barstool Fund

CHICAGO (WLS) – Patty Prosen, owner of 26-year-old popular Mexican restaurant Que Rico in Lakeview, just received an unexpected $ 15,000 Christmas present.

“Yesterday a phone call changed my life,” said Prosen. “It made my Christmas Eve very special. I was very surprised and honored to have received these funds from Barstool.”

In her scholarship submission video, Prosen admits that her family business is struggling.

“I’m sorry. I’m going to get so emotional, but this is my home. My employees are not just my employees. My employees are my family,” she said.

She submitted the video to the Barstool Fund for financial aid for her struggling restaurant.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough. It’s scary. I mean, you know, I had a $ 68 sale last Sunday. Who survived a $ 68 sale? So it’s very scary,” Prosen said.

Despite the challenges of the past nine months, she refused to cut off the payroll.

She was driving on Thursday when she received a call from Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, who recently started the Barstool Fund. The fund supports small businesses affected by shutdowns as part of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, he has raised $ 5.9 million from 56,000 donors. Portnoy himself has deposited $ 500,000 of his own money into the fund.

“We get thousands of emails,” he said. “The basic requirements we have: Your payroll must be activated. We don’t just want to help the business owners, we want to help the employees.”

Prosen was so overwhelmed by the news that she was going to receive money that she had to come over. Portnoy gives her $ 15,000 a month until her restaurant is at full capacity.

“She’s someone with a long track record, a loyal customer base,” he said. “The restaurant is clearly your life and to lose it through no fault of your own these are the people you want to help.”

“That’s huge. And I’ll be able to sleep better at night over the next few nights,” said Prosen.

The Barstool Fund was set up in collaboration with the non-profit 30-day fund. Portnoy came up with the idea of ​​starting the fund after New York City renewed its ban on indoor eating. The National Restaurant Association believes the industry is in free fall, citing data released in early December. 17% of the restaurants, more than 110,000 establishments, have closed permanently or for a long time since the beginning of the pandemic. Prosen is one of 14 business owners who have received money to date.

Notable donors to the fund include the New York Yankees, the Winklevoss twins and Marcus Lemonis from “The Profit” at CNBC. Portnoy has also invited other big names to donate to the fund, including Elon Musk, Tom Brady and Roger Goodell.

Portnoy said because he went to jail for Tom Brady, he’d love to see the quarterback donate to his fund. He also challenged Roger Goodell, saying, “If he donates $ 250,000 on it and the guy makes $ 40 million a year by the way, if you donate $ 250,000 on it, I’ll match it with my own money.”

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