ppp serving up

The most prominent Houston restaurants to receive $1 million or more via the PPP

Prominent Houston restaurants to receive $1 million or more via PPP

El Tiempo Cantina on Richmond exterior day
El Tiempo Cantina received loans of between $5 and $10 million. Photo courtesy of El Tiempo Cantina

The Small Business Administration has published the data from the Paycheck Protection Plan, a $660 billion fund designed to support small businesses during the economic slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses that certified they met eligibility requirements received loans from lenders (typically banks) in amounts related to the size of their payrolls.

These loans may be converted to grants if the businesses meet certain criteria related to keeping employees on their payrolls (and off unemployment). With many businesses closed or substantially diminished by the pandemic, the PPP has proved a critical source of funds to keep places open, but it might not be enough to save them permanently. Restaurants across the country are lobbying for passage of the RESTAURANTS Act, new legislation that would include $120 billion in additional funds for independent restaurants and changes to the PPP. 

The SBA offers a number of ways to sort the data, including state, city, loan amount (listed as a range), and industry — as identified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced Nakes). For bars and restaurants, the corresponding numbers are 722410 (drinking places alcoholic beverage), 722511 (full-service restaurants), 722513 (limited-service restaurants), 722514 (cafeterias, grill buffets, buffets), and 722515 (snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars).

Going by NAICS numbers and a business’ listed city, over 550 Houston establishments received at least $150,000 via the PPP. Of those, 48 received at least $1 million, with six receiving between $5 and $10 million and 11 receiving between $2 and $5 million.

The companies that received the largest loans of between $5 and $10 million are also among Houston’s most prominent operators: Laurenzo’s Management Company, which is related to the El Tiempo chain of Tex-Mex restaurants; Luby’s, Inc.; Pappas Restaurants; and Perry’s Restaurants, the umbrella organization for the locally based steakhouse chain.

Looking at restaurants that received between $2 and $5 million reveals franchisees of popular chains such as Houston Pizza Venture, LP (Papa John’s Houston), KGZ, LLC (Sarpino’s Pizza), TaterToTexas, LLC (Sonic), and Andrew Shant, LLC (IHOP). The list also includes Es Gunzunterheyt, a corporation owned by restaurateur Benjy Levit (Benjy’s, Local Foods).

Restaurants that received between $1 and $2 million include: Cordua Restaurants (Churrascos), Five 12 Restaurant Concepts (Dish Society), Golden Dreams Management (McDonald’s), Goode Cook, Inc (Goode Company), James Coney Island, Barnaby’s, The Original Ninfa’s, Steak 48, and Tiny Boxwood's.

At the $350,000 to $1 million level, people will find some of Houston's most celebrated restaurant groups, including Berg Hospitality (B&B Butchers, The Annie Cafe), Brennan's of Houston, Homerun Italian, LLC (Astros owner Jim Crane's restaurants Osso & Kristalla and Potente), H-Town Restaurant Group (Backstreet Cafe, Hugo's), Kiran's, Le Colonial, Loch Bar, Ouzo Bay, Nobu, Pluckers, Turkey Leg Hut, and 1100 Restaurant Group, LP (Chris Shepherd's Underbelly Hospitality).