BED-STUY, BROOKLYN — A neighborhood restaurant that has been struggling to keep its head above water during the coronavirus pandemic could close for good this month without help from the community, according to owners.
The Southern Comfort, found on Marcus Garvey Boulevard near Jefferson Avenue, has started a GoFundMe in the hopes of raising $40,000 needed to keep its doors open.
The restaurant fears it will close permanently if money isn’t raised before the end of February, owners said.
“…It has become increasingly difficult during this time as mandates and the now Omicron have made our indoor dining variant almost non-existent,” writes Kirk McDonald, who owns the restaurant with his wife Shawanna McDonald.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain the public funding that was available to some businesses and we’ve literally just been trying to keep our heads above water for the past 2 years but we simply don’t have enough capital to sustain the fight. “
The McDonalds first opened the comfort food eatery in 2019, serving up a mix of southern, Caribbean and South American flavors to the neighborhood.
“As we were getting our footing, the pandemic hit,” owners wrote.
Southern Comfort was part of an effort to help Bed-Stuy restaurants back in the early days of the pandemic. At the time, just a few months into the pandemic, business was down 60 to 80 percent, owners said.
On top of their regular menu, Southern Comfort has also given back to the neighborhood with food giveaways, an annual Juneteenth celebration and by offering up free hot meals to those who need it.
“We would love to continue and grow with the neighborhood that raised us and allowed us to open our restaurant,” the McDonalds wrote, noting that Kirk’ family has lived in Bed-Stuy since 1982.
The fundraiser, started last week, had raised around $6,500 as of Tuesday afternoon.
It is one of several GoFundMes that have helped the neighborhood’s businesses stay afloat as the pandemic continues to create a financial strain on the industry. Earlier this year, a fundraiser set up by Playground Coffee Shop on Bedford Avenue raised more than $55,000 to stay open.
Find Southern Comfort’s fundraiser here.