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Manuel’s Tavern, former President Jimmy Carter’s “favorite bar,” will likely close for good before the end of the year, Owner Brian Maloof exclusively told Saporta Report late-Wednesday. “I would imagine it would be permanent,” the youngest son of the iconic Atlanta restaurant’s namesake said.
Maloof said the restaurant has been netting a $25,000 loss per month since April because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and that even with rent support from landlord Selig, and money from the federally-funded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), expenses are outpacing profits in an insurmountable way.
Angelo Fuster on Wednesday launched a GoFundMe seeking to raise $75,000 to prop up the restaurant for the next few months. Within a few hours of the crowdsourcing page going live, Manuel’s Tavern had raised more than $10,000. Fuster is said to be one of the “most loyal patrons” of Manuel’s Tavern.
“Despite taking every step recommended to keep Manuel’s safe, to upgrade the takeout business, lower all costs while taking care of employees, and judicially use Payroll Protection Plan funding, sales dropped 62 percent, and so the PPP and cash reserves dried up completely…,” according to the GoFundMe page. “…With this GoFundMe effort we are asking for donations from everyone for whom Manuel’s has been home for important moments in their lives … meeting the love of your life, celebrating a marriage (or a divorce), a new job, a winning political campaign, a birthday, a retirement party, or the heartfelt memorials for those lost and mourned.”
Manuel’s Tavern has been in operation for 64 years. “We must keep those doors open,” Fuster writes. Maloof on Wednesday did not immediately respond to What Now Atlanta’s request for comment. Click here to read Saporta Report’s thoughtful coverage in its entirety and here to visit the GoFundMe for Manuel’s. Manuel’s Tavern in May was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. National Park Service. The Poncey-Highland building that houses the restaurant dates back to the 1920s. Ahead of its 60th anniversary in 2016 Manuel’s underwent a minor renovation.
[Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly placed Brian Maloof as the owner of spinoff eatery Manny’s Tavern Grant Park.]