Tucked just off the Oakland waterfront, NIDO’s BackYard is a unique outdoor space made up of repurposed shipping containers set atop an abandoned parking lot. With a diverse menu of Mexican cuisine and agave-focused cocktails, the BackYard is a well-known oasis for dining, drinks and outdoor socializing.
For owners Silvia and Cory McCollow, NIDO’s BackYard is a relatively new venture, having started their smaller restaurant, NIDO, seven years prior to opening NIDO’s BackYard in 2019. The new restaurant, with a huge outdoor garden space and a 200+ seat dining room, had been a labor of love for the couple and was off to a great start. Unfortunately, after its October 2019 opening, the COVID-19 pandemic upended what had been a successful launch.
The McCollows had put a large amount of financial and human resources into opening the new restaurant, while still serving customers at its old restaurant. But when COVID-19 hit, not only did NIDO have to close its dining room, but the company’s lucrative catering and event business dried up completely.
Surprisingly, NIDO’s BackYard never ceased operations during the pandemic. The team came up with special to-go menus and cocktails and weathered the re-openings and re-closings by leveraging the new restaurant’s outdoor dining space. As a result, the restaurant needed to maintain its employee head count to keep up with continued demand and ensure a revenue stream was available to pay mounting bills.
The business had obtained an SBA 7(a) loan from CRF prior to the pandemic to help with construction costs for the NIDO’s BackYard. Already familiar with the organization, the McCollows turned to CRF to get a PPP loan. CRF handled both the first- and second-round PPP loans for NIDO’s BackYard, which were used exclusively for payroll and other forgivable purposes.
With fast responses and fast approvals from CRF, NIDO’s BackYard was able to get the funds it needed to not just retain employees, but to hire new workers to handle increased demand once California re-opened restaurants for dine-in service. The business has created nearly 50 jobs since re-opening in mid-2021 and is now on its way to becoming a prime destination bar and restaurant in the East Bay.