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Wisconsin restaurants get help from the Barstool Fund

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jan 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-10 00:00:39-05

Several Wisconsin restaurants are getting help from the Barstool Fund, a fundraiser run by media company Barstool Sports.

The Barstool Fund raises money to help small businesses operate and pay their employees for as long as the Covid-19 pandemic goes on.

"Each month we will continue to cut you a check for how much you need to stay in business until this thing's over," said Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy in a video he posted to Twitter on Dec. 17.

J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill in Milwaukee applied and was chosen. The owners got a call from Portnoy shortly after Christmas.

"Indescribable," said owner John Bliesner. "It was amazing. It was a blessing."

As of Saturday, the Barstool Fund has raised more than $21 million and is supporting 102 businesses across the country. Three other Wisconsin businesses were also chosen, including The Abby Bar in De Pere, Gray Brewing Company in Janesville and Dairy Land Family Restaurant in Madison.

On Friday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he would donate $500,000 to the fund.

"It’s common sense," Portnoy said in an interview with NBC News earlier this week. "Small business right now is struggling, there’s no way it’s not, they’re shut down, but when you see it and you see the real, live, visceral reactions, you can’t help but want to help."

For the people at J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill, the help comes as a big relief after a really tough year. The bar is just down the street from American Family Field, and gets a lot of business with games and big parties. In its application video, owner Bob Schindel says he was forced to cut 12 part-time employees and says business is down 60 percent since the pandemic began.

"We got a really good crew here, really good staff, really good employees, patrons," Bliesner said.

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