Restaurants have turned to GoFundMe during the pandemic. They shouldn’t have to.

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As restaurants adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, an already precarious industry turns to crowdfunding. | Getty Images

The crowdfunding platform was a lifeline for independently owned businesses. But why?

There’s a three-block stretch in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that contains, by my count, 19 restaurants. It’s the best: If you want margaritas and Mexican food, you can order a pitcher at a colorfully tiled table outside at Chavela’s. 95 South has the best to-go rum punch in the neighborhood. For plant-based Ethiopian, there’s Ras, which is a few doors down from Suya, a Nigerian counter joint that makes super spicy steak bowls. No weekend morning is complete without a bacon-egg-and-cheese from Bagel Pub (the best in Brooklyn, no offense).

If I sound biased it’s because I live there, on the residential street one block away. I moved in on the first of March, thrilled to be surrounded by so many places I couldn’t wait to try. It was horrible timing, of course. Two weeks later, every single one of them was closed.

Like so many small businesses all over the country, the restaurants of Franklin Avenue were left mostly helpless. On March 18, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered…


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