American Express, along with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, have announced the third installment of the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program,” which will once again award $1 million collectively in grant funding to 25 recipients across the country, all funded by American Express and administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

As part of the program, Resy, a hospitality technology platform that is part of the American Express family, will also offer complimentary use of ResyOS – its restaurant management software – for one year to each of the historic small restaurants selected to help streamline costs and boost restaurant operations.

“We’re proud to give small restaurants the resources they need to grow their businesses and continue their legacies for years to come,” says Alice Lin Fabiano, vice president, community impact at American Express. The “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program reaffirms our long-standing commitment to backing small business owners.”

“Historic small and independent restaurants face many challenges, yet they continue to anchor their communities in invaluable ways, sharing cultural traditions and creating special places for gathering and celebrating together, says Katherine Malone-France, chief preservation officer, National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The National Trust is honored to partner with American Express to protect and sustain these places as they reflect all our stories, memories, and traditions.”

In its first two installments, the grant program provided 50 US historic restaurants with a collective $2 million. Restaurant owners used the grant funds to make needed improvements to their businesses, leading to a number of positive impacts on their communities.

“The grant gave us the opportunity to update our exterior facade and provided us with more energy-efficient windows and doors during the cold winters and hot summer seasons. Our regular customers noticed our new look right away and they are very impressed with the work so far,” says Nadine Hunt, owner of Miller’s Soul Food in Dublin, Georgia and a 2022 BHSR grant recipient. "Because of that needed work, we’ve seen an increase in dine-in customers during our lunch hours.”

“This grant has been uplifting for the entire community,” says 2022 grant recipient, Phil Stamps Jr., head of operations and development for Stamps Super Burgers in Jackson, Mississippi. “Our restaurant sits in the heart of Washington Addition, which is a residential neighborhood here in West Jackson. Our neighbors have raved about the preservation work.”

Backing Historic Small Restaurants is part of American Express’ Backing Small initiative, focused on providing financial support and other resources to help small businesses address critical needs. With $17 million in funds committed through 2024, the Backing Small Initiative continues to support underrepresented and economically vulnerable small business owners and entrepreneurs and includes grant programs, mentoring support and technical assistance through established community partnerships.

To be eligible for a grant, US independent small restaurants must operate in historic buildings or neighborhoods, contribute to their neighborhood’s history and identity, and have a diverse story about cuisine and community in America.

Restaurant owners can learn more and apply for the grant program at the National Trust of Historic Preservation’s website. Additionally, community members can nominate their favorite establishments that fit the criteria for consideration. Formal applications and public nominations will be accepted beginning at 8:00 am EST on February 23, 2023, through 11:59 pm EST on March 12, 2023.