In a city with thousands of dining and entertainment possibilities, 14 Parish Restaurant and Rhum Bar stands out from the crowd. From its origins in the South Loop, 14 Parish made a name for itself by providing diners with a guided experience of Caribbean cuisine, culture and its historic spirit of choice: rum.
Owner and founder Racquel Fields enjoyed a streak of success for 14 Parish, opening in its original location in 2017. When the restaurant’s landlord passed away and his heirs decided to sell the building, Fields saw an opportunity to start anew in a fresh location: the city’s bustling Hyde Park neighborhood.
After spending a considerable sum to acquire a new location and construct a new restaurant, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the city of Chicago closed all restaurants. Without a source of revenue from dining, bar or catering, Fields was in a dire situation; how could 14 Parish bring back staff with no business?
While Fields received a PPP loan in the first round, it wasn’t nearly enough to bring 14 Parish to its pre-pandemic staffing levels, as the restaurant had trimmed its full-time workforce during the move and build-out. This meant that 14 Parish qualified for less money than it would have had the business been fully staffed.
Once Fields learned about the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, she applied immediately. After working through the applications process, 14 Parish received a much-needed influx of cash for staffing, operations and other expenses related to moving and build-out.
Secure in a new location, with its staff intact, 14 Parish can again bring a special slice of the Caribbean to Chicago. With more than 100 different rums, a diverse menu of Caribbean specialties and a loyal customer base in its new location, 14 Parish is on the brink of roaring back from a difficult year. Fields credits the Fund and CRF with her optimism for the future.