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The Rathskeller receives $50K donation in nationwide fundraiser

On Thursday, Jan. 7, Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy FaceTimed a representative with The Rathskeller to surprise her with the news.
Credit: Mary Milz
The Rathskeller's Biergarten is located behind the building and seats up to 500 people.

INDIANAPOLIS — A popular Indianapolis restaurant has received a large donation, thanks to a nationwide fundraiser.

Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy introduced the Barstool Fund in a tweet Dec. 17 to help small businesses survive the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the video, Portnoy explained the stipulations behind the assistance:

  • Companies must still be paying their employees.
  • Explain what the business needs the money for.

Once a small business is chosen, Portnoy said the Barstool Fund will write a check to help it get through January. If the pandemic continues, the small business will receive a check each corresponding month for how much it needs to help it stay in business.

"Once you're in our program, we will pay whatever you need, the necessities you need, the money you need, to get through this thing and give you a fair chance to run your business," Portnoy said in the video.

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The Rathskeller Restaurant, located at 401 E. Michigan St. near Mass Ave, submitted a 67-second video application and said "for the first time in 25 years, we are facing the threat of closing once again," after nearly closing in 1995 before current owner Dan McMichael bought the business.

If selected as a recipient of the Barstool Fund, The Rathskeller said they would use the money to help make rent and payroll for the staff, most of whom have worked at the restaurant for 15 years or more.

WARNING: Video continues explicit language.

On Thursday, Jan. 7, Portnoy FaceTimed a representative with The Rathskeller to surprise her with the news.

Portnoy said they have been trying to get in touch with someone from The Rathskeller for a while, and it was a no-brainer to help out the Indianapolis business.

During the chat, he asked the unidentified woman what the last few months have been like for the business.

"It's a little rough. I think the most disappointing part of it is seeing the disappointment in our staff's face," she said in the video. "It's all out of our control at this point, with not being able to give them answers about what's going on, trying to reassure them that everything's going to be OK when we have no idea what's going to happen."

Shortly after, Barstool Sports shared the video and thanked @DrinkMamitas for its $50,000 donation to help support The Rathskeller. Mamitas is a company that makes hard seltzers with real tequila, sparkling water and natural flavors.

As of Friday morning, the Barstool Fund has supported 92 businesses with more than 157,000 supporters and $20 million raised.

Click here to contribute to the fund.

Small businesses in need of financial assistance can click here to submit an application.

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