DENVER — In March of 2020, brothers Cesar Munoz and Juan Herrera faced the same problem many others did that year; they tried opening a restaurant, but COVID-19 got in the way.
On Thursday, the brothers, and now co-owners of Dee Tacko, reflected on that time at a table inside their new Denver location.
"My brother had to be in the griddle on the back. I had to be in the front, managing the front of the house, managing the back of the house," Herrera shared.
But the hard work paid off - fast forward a few years and the restaurant's success has propelled the owners to expand from their original location in Pueblo to a new location in Denver, where they partnered with Mob Craft Beer.
"There's some tears and sweat behind every piece of a tile and wood on this place," Munoz said.
To take things to the next level, the brothers are hopeful they'll be recipients of a grant program put on by the Hispanic Restaurant Association (HRA), in partnership with DoorDash.
They applied for the Fall 2022 Cohort of the DoorDash Accelerator for Local Restaurants.
The HRA is considering grant applications to benefit of up to 20 restaurants within the Denver Metro.
The opportunity provides a $20,000 grant for the local restaurants chosen.
Selene Nestor, co-founder of the association, explained that first $10,000 will be given to chosen recipients, followed by an 8-week curriculum that will cover topics from capital hiring, to legal services, to media creation and more.
"Ideally, it's going to be restaurants that have been in operation for the last two years," she said.
Nestor says that they want to make sure that those applying for the grants are minority-owned businesses, women and people of color.
"The pandemic hit the restaurant industry really hard, but especially minority owned businesses, because those were the businesses that did not seek help. They just try to ride the wave and do it all on their own," Nestor said. "So this is going to help those restaurants actually catch up and in the long term, help them be successful and have access to education for the restaurants."
For Herrera and Munoz, they see the grant program as not only a chance to grow their business, but for recipients to increase their influence on communities.
"Whenever there's people that are teaching you what they've gone through, it makes it a little that much easier for us to be able to go on to the next spot," Herrera said. "It's very inspiring for the minorities to see other minorities be successful."
The grant applications can be found on this page, and will close Sept. 9.
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