Just for fun, we made a map of 323 (and counting) Kickstarter-funded places across the country where you can eat and drink. Everything is on here: corner cafes, pizzerias, juice bars, noodle spots, coffee houses, craft breweries, vegan bakeries, donut shops ...
Why so many? As we recently explained to Eater, a restaurant is, in many ways, “the perfect project.” If you’ve run a successful Kickstarter project to start your restaurant, you’ve already connected with the people who will walk through your door when you open. They’re already psyched about your place! That’s why, when we made this map, we weren’t surprised to see that some of the earliest restaurant projects — like Homeroom in Oakland or Colonie in Brooklyn — are still thriving, and many more restaurants are achieving their goals on a regular basis.
None of this comes easy, though. Building a restaurant is incredibly hard work. One of the biggest challenges is finding the money, and bank loans are often hard to come by. Kevin Sousa, creator of the massively successful Superior Motors project, shared his experience with financing in a recent Eater Q&A:
Q: In your conversations with the banks, did you have some idea from them...
A: They weren't really interested in talking to someone that didn't have anything financial to put on the table. If you're first in with $100,000, the banks are likely more willing to lend $100,000. So they're not the only ones taking the risk. Nobody wants to be the first in a risky endeavor. A restaurant is risky in and of itself, let alone in an area that has lost 90 percent of its population. So I can understand why banks weren't willing to go first in. Having such a successful Kickstarter campaign, not only did that write our business plan for us, but it's also [demonstrated that] we have now $350,000 [and] the backing of the whole city. The city showed up in a big way to support this. Now we have something we can put in front of the banks should the time come that we need to.
Q: To prove that you have clientele.
A: We've got something now. More than just an idea. A lot of people have really great ideas, and unfortunately there's not a whole lot of follow-through because there's so many roadblocks, most of them financial. But, in this case, things just started to fall into place. For whatever reason when we delivered this idea to the public, it spoke to a lot of people.
We hope you’ll use the map to find the places near you that were built from the ground up with community support. And if your food project is about to be IRL, and you want it to be on the map, or if we missed your spot, write us at stories@kickstarter and we’ll add it right away! #nomnom