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'I think I cried for two hours': Canton restaurant selected for Barstool Fund

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jan 07, 2021

CANTON, Md. — A Canton restaurant is the latest to get selected for the Barstool fund, which is helping restaurants across the country struggling during the pandemic.

Claddagh Pub becomes the third Baltimore area restaurant to receive financial relief from the popular sports and entertainment company.

Don’t Know Tavern in Baltimore was also selected for the fund. Doughboy Fresh Pretzel Company in Dundalk was picked last month.

RELATED: Doughboy Fresh Pretzel Co. using Barstool Sports Fund to grow local business

“I think I cried for two hours,” said Michael Clarke, who owns Claddagh Pub.

The pub, which opened 27 years ago, has been shut down twice due to COVID-19 restrictions. Clarke has watched his profits disappear, forcing him to lay off a quarter of his staff.

“It’s been a seesaw,” he said. “It’s been a lot of no sleep. Anybody who is in this business in Baltimore city that is telling you they’re sleeping at night is probably not telling you the truth.”

For the first time, he began to question if the Pub could survive.

The worry led him to create a video for Barstool in hopes the company would select him for the fund.

“I just want to be able to continue to support my family,” he said in the video.

However, Clarke said he became frustrated with the application and was going to find another option. Little did he know, his daughter finished the application for him.

Within days, she received a FaceTime call from Barstool’s president. She fought back tears as she told him how important it was for her dad to get selected for the fund.

“My dad is in the worst position ever,” she told Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy. “Literally, sitting next to him every day where he’s crying. Your dad who you look up just cry every day. Terrible. Terrible position to be in. I’m so grateful for you.

Clarke’s daughter later shared the news with her dad, who was in shock.

“Oh my god,” he said. “A little light at the end of the tunnel.”

Clark said the money is going to ensure his staff will be able to get their jobs, adding he is incredibly grateful to have been selected.

“It allows me a fighting chance to continue doing what we’ve been doing for 27 years,” he said.

The Barstool Fund has raised more than $20 million to help restaurants. So far, 91 have been selected.