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Famous Fund keeping local restaurants' doors open

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 23:16:42-05

BALTIMORE — Jimmy’s Famous Seafood started a fund to help local restaurants keep their doors open.

On Friday, they had a special gift for Locust Point's Serenity Wine Bar.

Nneka Bilal opened up shop in June 2019 and they are the only self serve wine bar in Baltimore City.

“Our motto is pour your own pleasure,” Bilal said. “We have our wine system so people can literally come up and pour a taste of something. A half glass or a full glass so you can sample stuff before you commit to a whole bottle.”

Like so many restaurants they’ve struggled because of the pandemic.

John Minadakis, the Co-Owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood started the Famous Fund a few weeks ago.

In that short period of time they’ve raised over $400,000 to help Baltimore restaurants.

Now, the Famous Fund is a non profit organization that's focused on helping as many people as possible.

T.J. Smith is the spokesperson for the Famous Fund.

“We’re not dealing with franchises,” said Smith. “We’re dealing with individual restaurants where many have come up with family. Others, people have put their money together, blood, sweat, and to get their restaurants off the ground and they were vibrant restaurants pre-pandemic.”

OJ and Chanda Brigance of the Brigance Brigade made the call that the Famous Fund was donating $8,000.

And OJ continued the surprise by typing out another surprise with his eyes.

“We know that times have been tough but with your faith grit and hard work the best is yet to come,” Brigance said. “Chanda and I want to personally donate an extra $2000 to the fund. Thank you, thank you so much.”

The outpouring of love the famous fund is showing won’t fix everything, but it buys the businesses a little more time to get to the other side of the pandemic.

“To be able to keep some staff on, be able to pay our rent and utilities for a few months it means a lot,” said Bilal. “Being open a year and a half I wasn’t ready to shut the doors.”