Barstool Fund & their support of Trago Bar & Tapas
This past January, Trago received the greatest gift from a source, that if they hadn't made a national campaign, we wouldn't have know about it. I sent in the letter below, in desperation. We didn't know how we were going to make it another week. We can't thank Dave Portnoy and his team enough for putting this together and for helping us get through the hump.
Click here to see our video submission & to view the live call telling us we got the grant.
December 22, 2020
Hello guardian angels of the bar business. My name is Kandi Kerns and I am the chef/owner of a locally owned Tapas Bar here in Kansas City, Missouri. I can't thank you enough for the support you are willing to give to our industry. It gives me hope and joy that there is still success in our industry and that not all is lost.
My restaurant, Trago Bar & Tapas, recently celebrated our 4th anniversary and I remember thinking this past February, our hard work is finally paying off. We received a call in early March that we were selected to have the center spread of a popular industry magazine for the month of April. So amazing! We were hitting numbers that gave us so much hope. Finally, we were able to start paying back the generous loans from my parents. My daughter and I could finally move out of our worn down duplex apartment which we had lived in for the past 11 years. Maybe we could even take a week off! Take that vacation which I had promised. Then covid hit. The title of that coveted spot in the magazine says it all "Trago seems comfortable. Too bad it's off limits!"
I have always thought of myself as a survivor. Hard work and dedication will eventually pay off. Do good, be good and everything you do will come back to you tenfold. Believing that is getting harder and harder. This month is testing my beliefs, hope and optimism. I sit here typing, wondering how I am going to pay January's rent or our end of year property taxes.
I have always considered myself optimistic and ready to take on whatever is put in my path. Now, after 9 months of intense labor, I don't know if my family business can survive. This past year has been a challenge in endurance and character. I am so fortunate to not have lost any employees and my long standing staff have kept my spirits and hopes high not knowing that there are days I can't even get out of bed or that I just used the last of my pitiful savings to pay their paychecks.
My daughter, who is my sous chef and I have worked countless hours and multiple shifts to cover labor expenses and other costs and haven't received a paycheck choosing to pay staff and expenses over ourselves. Your project gives someone like me hope. Winter is coming and with the cold weather and limited indoor seating, we have to figure something out soon.
If you granted us any help, the funds would go first towards catching up rent and taxes, then towards our survival goal, a food trailer to be opened in our parking lot. We initially opened Trago as a bar but after several awards for our food, and the continuous 60-65% food sales, we have heard what our community wants. More food and easier access. We currently offer a curbside program. It's okay, but we are not able to reach all potential consumers. So many people tell us they've heard about Trago but haven't come into our place because they don't understand tapas. They also don't know that we have a huge selection of scratch tacos, empanadas, sandwiches (tortas, cubans) and other authentic Latin food, all recipes stemming from the food memories of my grandma who taught me to cook. These are all items which would suit perfectly to a food truck. We would use our commercial kitchen, run the truck all day and through dinner, and open the "bar" in the evenings.
I hope that you will consider my plea for help. We have cut expenses and are surviving and we will do so until we can't. I have used the analogy that I'm under water breathing through a straw. All we need is a little help, maybe from a guardian angel, to keep us from drowning. We would appreciate any help.