A restaurant is using GoFundMe to stay open during the pandemic

The fundraiser says, "Just as they (the restaurant owners) have been there for you in challenging times, we ask you to come together for them."
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A Minneapolis restaurant is turning to Go undMe to help it raise money to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

A slew of restaurants in Minnesota and across the country are closing due to financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and capacity restrictions put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

And while some have chosen to temporarily close for winter or are getting creative with outdoor dining in hopes of surviving the pandemic, The Harriet Brasserie is taking a different route.

A local resident created a GoFundMe page to help financially support the Linden Hills restaurant, which is not far from Lake Harriet, so it can stay afloat until restaurants are given the OK to open at full capacity (currently, the state is restricting capacity to 50% of fire code, up to 250 people).

Harriet Brasserie faces a "financial and existential challenge," the page says, noting COVID-19 has limited opportunities for people to gather and the momentum from the summer has slowed, reducing the restaurant's operating income, which operates on a slim profit margin even in the best of times. 

"With considerably reduced guests through the short-term future, they need our support to help keep the bills paid and the lights on until they can reopen at full capacity as before," the page says. 

While many restaurants are facing similar financial struggles, the Go Fund Me page creator, Felicity Britton, points out all the things the Harriet Brasserie owners Fernando and Kalinka Silva have done for the community since opening the restaurant nearly 10 years ago.

"Now it's our chance to give back and thank them for supporting our community by showing community support for this neighborhood business," the page says, noting "You’re not just investing in a business, you’re investing in the community."

The Silvas rarely took a day off so they could live out their dream of building a neighborhood brasserie, the page says. Over the years, the restaurant has connected with the community, donating gift cards to local organizations and supporting citywide causes and events.

Then, when the state-ordered lockdown forced restaurants to close, Harriet Brasserie offered curbside pickup despite it not being very financially viable, the page says. When restaurants could re-open to dine-in customers, the restaurant sponsored local musicians on the sidewalk a few days a week.

"Now, just as they have been there for you in challenging times, we ask you to come together for them," the page says. 

The Silvas shared the GoFundMe page on the restaurant's Facebook Wednesday, saying: "We are humbly asking for your support in keeping our life dream viable through this unprecedented times, and for that we are thankful."

The goal of the fundraising page is to encourage people to make whatever donation they can afford, calling each contribution "priceless."

The Go Fund Me has a goal of raising $150,000 for the restaurant. As of 10 a.m. Thursday – less than a day after it was created – the page had raised $4,535 with donations from 21 people.

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