Four Queens restaurant owners to participate in DoorDash program, receive $20,000 grant

Derick Lopez, owner of The Freakin Rican restaurant in Astoria, is among the owners chosen to participate in DoorDash’s new Main Street Strong Accelerator program. (Photo courtesy of DoorDash)

Four Queens restaurant owners are among 100 restaurateurs and operators in five major cities across the country selected to participate in DoorDash’s inaugural Main Street Strong Accelerator program.

DoorDash, one of the nation’s leading online food ordering and delivery companies, created the accelerator initiative in partnership with Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit small business lender and support organization, in order to provide financial support and specialized educational resources for restaurants owned by women, immigrants and people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The business owners who were selected will receive a $20,000 grant and participate in an eight-week restaurant operator course, including hands-on mentorship and small business advising. The program will serve restaurants in New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Twenty New York City restaurants were selected, including four in Queens: Spicy Shallot in Elmhurst, Sabor Restaurant & Bakery in College Point, Bernadette’s in Rockaway Beach and The Freakin Rican Restaurant in Astoria.

The Freakin Rican Restaurant owner Derick Lopez said he’s grateful to be a part of the program.

“Our restaurant is about love, family and community — we’ve come a long way since we started selling empanadas on the street,” Lopez said. “The last year in the pandemic has been very difficult but we have been able to continue thanks to the support of our community. We are grateful to DoorDash for this generous grant and for the opportunity to participate in the Main Street Strong Accelerator Program, which will help us to continue serving the food that brings people back to the memories of their childhood.”

Other New York City restaurants participating in the program are Pham to Table, Bistro Casa Azul, Xe May Sandwich Shop, Dear Mama, Le Paris Dakar, Eggloo, Alibi Lounge, Flava’s Restaurant and Lounge, Bushwick Grind Cafe, Jam‘It Bistro, The Sampler, Il Sole, Silvana, The Farm on Adderley, Savvy Bistro and Bar and South of the Clouds.

The selected participants feature various cuisines, and employ an average of nine employees across their locations.

They were selected because they demonstrated exceptional commitment to their communities and shared a clear, actionable plan of how they’d use the resources from the accelerator program.

The program will feature virtual instruction and discussion courses starting in April. The content of the trainings were tailored to focus on the most pertinent issues experienced by small business owners with less than three locations, with help and input from the Main Street Strong Advisory Committee that’s made up of leading restaurateurs and experts.

For more information on the Main Street Strong Accelerator program, visit doordashimpact.com/accelerator.