Erin Norris was one step away from opening her dream restaurant until Hurricane Sandy stormed in and ripped it from her hands. Norris’ project, a restaurant in progress called Grindhaus, was set to open in Red Hook, Brooklyn this spring but instead it was left destroyed in the wake of the storm.
Since Sandy swept in, Norris has managed to repair the dining room, salvage the floors, replace the walls, and remove broken electrical wiring. However, she still needs to rebuild the whole kitchen from scratch – a task that was not included in her original budget. Now she has taken an unconventional approach. Since late May, she has rested her hope in a Kickstarter campaign where she’s asked the public to donate a proposed goal of $17,000 to her project.
Although it may seem farfetched, using Kickstarter as a means of restaurant funding has proven successful in the past. There have been success stories in Brooklyn, one in the same neighborhood as Grindhaus. Shortly after Sandy, Red Hook’s most famous bar, the Bait & Tackle, launched a Kickstarter to build a new and improved venue after it was also destroyed. Within a month, the restaurant broke their goal of $20,000 with $30,907 provided by the 227 backers who funded the project. Sandy aside, Kickstarter also worked for Aaron Lefkove in the summer of 2011 when he ran out of options to fund his dream of opening a New England-style clam shack in Brooklyn. He used Kickstarter as a means for funding his restaurant, Littleneck, and ended up with 162 backers and $5,000 more than his goal of $8,000.
So far, Norris’ campaign has 85 backers and a total of $8,885 in funds. However, there are only 18 days left of the project and funds have barely passed the halfway mark to the goal that needs to be met. Grindhaus has not released a menu yet, but it sounds like it will be focused on sausages and other eastern European cuisine. The campaign ends on May 4, so why not chip in and help Norris out!
Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.