American Express has announced the return of its Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program, which will once again award $40,000 grants, administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to 25 historic small restaurants across the country.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry, more than half of restaurant operators surveyed indicated that it would be a year or more before business conditions return to normal. Additionally, 96 percent of restaurant operators surveyed experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2021, and these challenges will likely continue in 2022.

To address these challenges, American Express is again working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bring back the Backing Historic Small Restaurant Grant Program, first launched in February of 2021, to help small restaurants that have contributed to the fabric of their communities so they can better serve their customers, financially recover and grow their businesses. The focus of the program will be on historic small restaurants that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Historic restaurants have long been some of the most important establishments in our communities,” ​​says Jennifer Skyler, chief corporate affairs officer at American Express. “They are places where families and friends gather, build relationships, share meals and celebrate. While their future looks bright, many of these restaurants are still carrying the weight of the pandemic, and we are here to support them through this next phase of recovery.”

Independent small restaurants that have been in business for over 25 years and that operate in historic buildings or neighborhoods are eligible to apply for grants. Restaurant owners can learn more and apply for the grant program here. Additionally, fans can nominate their favorite establishments that fit the criteria for consideration. Formal applications and public nominations will be accepted now through 11:59 pm EST on April 4, 2022.

“American entrepreneurship is a defining aspect of our nation’s heritage, and historic commercial landmarks are essential to community identity and economic vitality,” says Katherine Malone-France, chief preservation officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This initiative acknowledges that legacy restaurants are not only welcoming spaces where people share their traditions and foodways, but also gathering places where history is made in meaningful ways, small and large, over and over again.”