SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The owner of an iconic Shreveport restaurant received a game-changing Facetime call this week.
Janet Bean, owner of Herby K’s restaurant, took the call from Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports and the Barstool Fund, a nonprofit that provides aid to businesses struggling under the weight of the pandemic, who told her his organization had selected Herby K’s as one of the businesses it will help.
To date, The Barstool Fund has raised more than $33 million and helped more than 180 small businesses across the country.
Like many small businesses, Herby K’s, which in its 85 years has served everyone from the regular downtown lunch crowd to celebrities and local, state and national politicians, has been fighting for its life during mandated social distancing restrictions which has reduced its capacity to 50%.
In a four-minute video submitted to The Barstool Fund by Margaritaville Casino, Christina Thomason, general manager, tells the story of Herby K’s since it began in 1936.
Throughout those years, Thomason says in the video, the restaurant has remained in the same location and open until Louisiana’s Phase I COVID-19 restrictions forced it to shut down for five months. Although the popular restaurant is now open again, due to social distancing restrictions, it’s only open at 50% capacity.
During Wednesday’s Facetime call, Portnoy told Bean after watching the video, “I LOVE Herby K’s,” and that the restaurant is, “the exact type place, why we started the fund.
“We can’t lose places like that. So much tradition. So we want to help you out, make sure you have everything you need to make sure Herby’s is around for another 100 years.”
“Times have been extremely hard,” Thomason said in the video submitted to Barstool. “The business was in debt when we opened back up from bills piling up, not being able to pay taxes, and losing our liquor licenses. Luckily, Ms. Janet, Angela’s mom, was able to help with the taxes and licenses. We did not get approved for any of the PPP loans, but with faith and amazing support from our locals we have been able to keep going.”
Portnoy told Bean to expect someone to reach out or call, “and then we’ll get you funds in like 72 hours. And every month, we just check in until pandemic’s done and make sure Herby’s is doing well.”
“I’m glad we can help, I’m glad we found you,” Portnoy said, promising that a visit to Herby K’s is now “on my bucket list.”
Three other businesses in Shreveport-Bossier will be receiving financial help from the fund. NBC 6 News is aware of whom the businesses are, but is not disclosing the information as the businesses have yet to be informed.
Penn National Gaming has committed $4.6 million to the Barstool Fund as a means to help small businesses.