By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer & Louis Bryant | OBSERVER Staff Photographer

Daddy Os BBQ

A local barbecue was one of 44 Northern California restaurants awarded $3,000 grants as part of the California Restaurant Foundation’s Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, a $1.5 million fund financed by California’s energy companies including PG&E.

Daddy O’s Smokehouse in Rancho Cordova received the grant designed to invest in the long-term health of California’s independent restaurants. The $3,000 grants can be used for equipment upgrades and employee retention bonuses. The money signals relief for restaurants trying to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We like to say this is a fund with heart,” said Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Foundation. “We have the financial assistance, which is absolutely a lifeline to restaurants and helping them take care of things that they had to defer doing while keeping the doors open.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to find grants you can fully apply for and that you meet all the criteria for,” shared Daddy O’s co-owner Valencia Kamara. “Once I read through (this one), I was like ‘Oh, that’s us.’”

A total of 356 grants were awarded statewide. Daddy O’s Smokehouse and the other recipients also will receive yearlong business support services funded by Wells Fargo. Support includes training and resources to enhance and streamline their businesses.

“It’s always good for new business owners to get resources,” said co-owner O.Z. Kamara, a third-generation grillmaster. “I always tell my kids you have to utilize your resources to make better opportunities for yourself.

“It’s very fortunate that we’re able to get restaurant mentoring and they’re going to teach us other things about staffing, bookkeeping and things like taxes.”