N St. Mary’s strip restaurant denied COVID-Construction Grant money

The restaurant owner tells KSAT the business is thousands of dollars short of being profitable weekly

SAN ANTONIO – A St. Mary’s strip restaurant, Candlelight Pourhouse, has resorted to operating at limited hours to avoid going under, opening only three days a week.

“I’ve lost so much. I tapped into my retirement, I tapped into my funds, so no, I haven’t profited at all,” said restaurant owner Tammy Russell.

Russell explained how she hoped the Covid-Construction Recovery Grant Program would provide much-needed financial assistance.

However, she received an email from LiftFund, tasked with handling applications, stating she didn’t meet the criteria last week.

“Disappointed, I felt like there was a hole in my stomach. What else could have kept me from getting qualified, lost money, have my business that was affected by it, my staffing, the roads to get access, so what else I’m missing,” Russell told KSAT.

Russell explained that the LiftFund didn’t provide specifics for the rejection. She then turned to District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo.

She added that even Bravo was surprised by the decision and told her he would look into it.

Russell is currently bringing in around $8,000 to $9,000 a week but said realistically, she needs to make $12,000 to $15,000 to be profitable.

“I’m a fighter... and I’m not going to go down without a fight even if we have to scrape and scrape, and that’s what we’ve been doing. I’m going to make it happen,” said Russell.

KSAT has reached out to LiftFund and Councilman Bravo, but we have not heard back yet.

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About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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