From pounding Rolling Rock ponies outside on their sidewalk patio and drinking Japanese whiskey while playing Skeeball to drinking all of their 42 North’s Westphalia Kolsch during Spy Hunter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathons and enjoying pints of Mothra Green Tea Pilsner, their collaboration with Community Beer Works, on the vaunted sparkly pink staircase, the memories I’ve made at Misuta Chows over the past two years have been bountiful, if not a tad fuzzy. Still, those memories are fond to say the least.
But with good times comes the bad, and the barcade and restaurant are certainly enduring a rough patch right now. Not only did they file for voluntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy last month, they, like countless other bars, breweries and restaurants, were forced to close their doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In an effort to survive the pandemic, Misuta Chows has launched the Misuta Chow’s Relief Fund via GoFundMe in order stay afloat and continue to pay their rent, utilities, insurance, and payroll for the last of their most essential employees.
“We recently learned that we are ineligible for any funding through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program,” Owner Johny Chow says on their GoFundMe page. “Our hearts were broken that we had to close due to COVID-19. While we hope and pray this is temporary, these times are incredibly overwhelming, uncertain and stressful for us all, especially our staff. Closing was the only hope we had of being able to continue paying our rent, utilities, insurance, and the limited remaining payroll for the last of our most essential employees, but how long we can survive still waits to be seen.”
“Misuta Chow’s wants to make sure the 30 employees we had to lay off because of this crisis have a job to come back to when this is all over,” he continues. “For that to be possible, we have to stay current on rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, equipment leases, and our start-up loan from the Small Business Association. We also want to do everything we can to support our local community. These funds will allow us to continue paying payroll for essential employees and contracted workers that make doing so possible. We are also providing weekly meals to our staff members, and donating essential items to them from our Misuta Mart.”
Chow says that they launched the GoFundMe, which has a $75,000 goal, as a way to keep their business viable for reopening when things in the world return to normal. Another purpose is to allow them to continue providing weekly meals and materials to frontline medical workers through partnerships with organizations like Buffalo Resilience and WNY Feeds The Frontline.
“On behalf of Misuta Chow’s, please accept our deepest gratitude for your overwhelming show of compassion,” Chow adds. “We realize everyone is struggling right now. Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. Our hearts go out to everyone. We are in this together, and we will get through it together. We look forward to welcoming you back into our home at 521 Main St. in Downtown Buffalo, and to thank you all in person, very soon. As we continue to be safe and take care of each other, please consider making a donation to help support our Misuta Chow’s community if you are able. Every single dollar counts.”
For more information, and to donate to the Misuta Chow’s Relief Fund, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/misutachows. They are selling merchandise at www.misutachows.com (t-shirts and hats currently available). They will soon be adding pins from 1979 Designs and Hello Kitty bottled soy sauce. Additionally, Stone Sour fans can also expect to soon see rare and autographed merchandise and collectibles available in the near future.
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).