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Why a restaurant grant fund quickly dried up | Business Weekly Newsletter

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was quickly drained of cash, and other stories.

Sulimay's Restaurant owner Chad Todd in the Fishtown diner. He was among more than 175,000 applicants who didn't get funded by the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Sulimay's Restaurant owner Chad Todd in the Fishtown diner. He was among more than 175,000 applicants who didn't get funded by the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

A federal program meant to help the struggling restaurant industry gave millions of dollars to some lucky eateries. But many more businesses got nothing at all, raising questions about how the funds were disbursed.

Plus, we explain why Pennsylvania workers are quitting their jobs in large numbers, and examine who will control New Jersey’s marijuana industry.

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— Christian Hetrick (@_Hetrick,

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund was pitched as a lifeline for businesses large and small, from swanky steakhouses to holes in the wall. But an Inquirer analysis of grant data shows the biggest restaurants often benefitted the most.

Half of the total funds sent to the Philly region went to just under 10% of recipients. Some of the biggest winners include strip clubs and the Schulson Collective restaurant empire. Other eateries, struggling to stay afloat, were initially approved for grants but ultimately went unfunded. That’s because the program was besieged by litigation and drained of cash within weeks.

“It was like being told you won the lottery, and then the lottery ran out of money,” said Rebecca Foxman, owner of Fox & Son.

My colleague Jenn Ladd and I put together a list of the businesses that got the most money and explain why others were left scrambling for cash.

What else you need to know ...

Other stories ...

‘I quit’: U.S. workers have quit their jobs nearly 20 million times between April and August, 60% more than the same period last year. Pennsylvania workers are also joining ‘The Great Resignation.”

Possible strike: Flight attendants based at Philadelphia International Airport voted to authorize a strike at a regional carrier for American Airlines.

Latest on Tower Health: A Chester County judge rejected Tower Health’s bid for property tax exemptions for Brandywine, Jennersville, and Phoenixville Hospitals

Legal weed: Who will control legal marijuana sales in New Jersey? Regulators are pushing to diversify ownership, but big companies may be hard to stop.

For sale: The for-profit owner of Crozer Health’s four hospitals in Delaware County has put them up for sale. Critics say the owners buy struggling hospitals then extract money from them for investors.

PSERS keeps secrets: The $73 billion pension fund for teachers won a ruling keeping secret much of its dealings with three consultants.

‘Rebound shopping’: Philadelphia shoppers are expected to spend big this holiday season after the pandemic kept many consumers home last year.

The Bellwether District: HRP unveiled a new name for the commercial real estate venture it plans to build on the site of the shuttered South Philadelphia refinery.