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‘Our prayers were really answered,’ Sisters Thai Cafe receives help from Dave Portnoy, Barstool fund

sisters thai cafe

ROCKFORD (WREX) -- Restaurants across the Stateline and the entire country are in desperate need to stay afloat during the pandemic. Sisters Thai Cafe in downtown Rockford is no different, but it looked to an unconventional fund to receive money.

So, it emailed the Barstool Fund, after it heard about the money available from a customer.

Megan Sengchannavong, the manager of Sisters Thai Cafe said she resent the email application every couple of days until she got a response. Then, an email from Barstool Sports came asking to send them a video within 24 hours.

"We would love this opportunity for you to help us and keep our family together," Megan from Sisters said in that video application to Barstool Sports' Barstool Fund. "Our servers and staff are our family."

That family was cut short from 22 employees to 12. Megan said the ten left on their own accord, and many were making more money on unemployment because service was slow. Sisters also had a fridge and furnace go out, which caused even more financial hardship.

Then, the call came. The guy on the other end of the FaceTime was a familiar face.

"Shut up, you're lying," Megan said as she answered.

"I'm not lying, I'm not lying," Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports responded. "Got your story, video, it's pretty amazing."

Portnoy and Barstool Sports have raised almost $30 million to help restaurants and businesses through what they call The Barstool Fund. So far, the fund has helped 169 businesses, as of Friday night.

The money is given monthly by Barstool for the duration of the pandemic. Sisters Thai Cafe tallied up how much it spends each month and Barstool covers it, according to Megan. For January, the restaurant received $15,000.

13 WREX reached out to Barstool and Portnoy for an interview, but we have not heard back.

"We built this restaurant now coming on eight years," Sengchannavong said. "Just the thought of almost having to close, or the thought of losing this place because of the unexpected events of what's going on with the pandemic, we were really down and looking and reaching for something. Every day, taking it day by day, our prayers were really answered. It came at a great time."

James Stratton

James Stratton is the Evening Anchor at 13 WREX and reports for 13 Investigates He joined the team in August, 2018 after working at KWQC TV-6 in Davenport Iowa. His work in Illinois and Iowa has been awarded in both states, along with Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Awards at 13 WREX.

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