Bronx-based nonprofit partnering on $200K in microgrants for POC restaurant owners

The rooftop space at Rosa’s At Park in Mott Haven
Photo courtesy Rosa Garcia

Owning a restaurant is no joke — equipment can break; hiring reliable cooks and servers is tougher than ever; January and February are painfully slow, but the summer months are slammed — and Bronx nonprofit Oyate Group is offering microgrants of up to $10,000 to help our favorite eateries keep going through it all.

The Rising Restaurateur grant — taking applications until the end of April — is open to Black, Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Indigenous restaurant owners in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester County and the Bronx. Applicants must own a single business with no more than 30 employees and maximum $2M in annual revenue. 

Oyate Group partnered with Grubhub and the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association to bring the total grant amount to $200,000, to be awarded in increments ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per business. Half of the total amount will be given to members of the Latino Restaurant Association, so those members are especially encouraged to apply. 

Oyate Group helped some small businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but quickly realized that “the work was not done there yet,” according to Program Coordinator Alexander Reyes.

The Rising Restaurateur grant was designed to meet some of restaurant owners’ ongoing needs; they could use the grant money towards rent, marketing, staffing or other needs as determined by the owner. 

Rosa Garcia, owner of Rosa’s At Park in Mott Haven, recently applied for a Rising Restaurateur grant to help improve her rooftop space, among other projects. 

The grant would help defray the cost of new lights and umbrellas which were already damaged by recent storms, she told the Bronx Times. 

But those improvements are more than cosmetic. Rosa’s is one of very few rooftop options for diners in the South Bronx and Garcia said it’s important for her to provide that kind of exciting space within the community. 

“I want the Bronx to be a place where our people stay in our neighborhood,” she said. 

Of course, the rooftop revamp isn’t her only expense.

“Everything keeps going up,” said Garcia, especially rent and insurance. She can never get too comfortable because as a restaurant owner hopping from one problem to another.

“You’re always catching up,” she said.

Although the life of a restaurant owner isn’t for everyone, Garcia is no stranger to the challenges, having previously owned the Mott Haven Bar and Grill for 13 years. But she has never received a grant before and now she’s “manifesting” that the Rising Restaurateur grant might be her first. 

A bonus for busy entrepreneurs like Garcia was that the application process was simple, unlike some loan and grant applications that practically require “a DNA test and a hair sample,” she said. 

Knowing that local opportunities like Rising Restaurateur exist gives Garcia the confidence of feeling that the community is behind her. 

“I give back to my community because my community gives back to me,” she said.

As for the money: “I’m a believer that the right people will receive the right grants.”

The application is available until the end of April.

Reach Emily Swanson at or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes