Most of the restaurant industry is slowly recovering from the pandemic. And now BBQ Unlimited chef Sean Green, who lost his family home this spring, can share a glimmer of optimism.
Fooda, the company that hires food service providers to serve meals in companies, has started sending BBQ Unlimited to more workplaces. And earlier this month, the family’s housing difficulties were resolved. He, his wife, Nikeah, and their school-age children moved out of their rooms at the New Castle County Hope Center, a shelter in a converted Sheraton hotel in northern Delaware, and into an apartment. The center provided them with $7,000 to facilitate the move, he said.
In what Sean Green calls a dream setup, the apartment is attached to a commissary kitchen, where he and his wife can cook for their Fooda clients as well as their restaurant in the Willow Grove Park food court, a mall in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Since 2015, the Greens have been earning a comfortable living through corporate catering. But when businesses began to empty in March 2020, the work dried up.
READ MORE: From May 2022: BBQ Unlimited owners lost their homes
The Greens have tried everything, while receiving nearly $33,000 in loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. They first settled in a ghost kitchen in North Philadelphia. When this arrangement became too expensive, they rented a restaurant in the old town at what was then a bargain rate. When that didn’t work out, they struck a deal last spring for the Willow Grove Park stand, now open Wednesday through Sunday.
Through it all, Green, 42, said that as a last resort, he would go back to working for someone.
This does not happen.
Fooda now occupies the Greens in several office buildings – at 518 Township Line Rd. in Blue Bell and One Radnor Corporate Center in Radnor, as well as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in University City – “and people love food , which explains that,” he said.
He added that having permanent accommodation will also help the children, who are entering Years 1, 3 and 9 this year. “It’s changing for them too,” he said.
As for his secret: “Stay humble and keep your faith in God.”