Florida Avenue Grill Claims It’s the Victim of Multiple Fundraising Scams

At least one appears to be a misunderstanding with a Howard University nonprofit.

A sign posted outside Florida Avenue Grill, which is closed due to Covid-19.

Fundraising campaigns for restaurants and their employees have become a common sight amid the health crisis. But Florida Avenue Grill, a DC soul food institution for 76 years, claims they’re being falsely represented by individuals who say they’re raising money on the beloved diner’s behalf. The business has been closed for weeks due to Covid-19.

On Saturday, Florida Avenue Grill posted on their social media platforms:

“#DC Beware there are multiple unauthorized people purportedly raising money to “save” @floridaavegrill here on IG and elsewhere. None of these solicitations are authorized. They are done without our knowledge or consent. Nor have any funds been given to the Grill…

Prince of Petworth warned of the scams Monday morning.

Last Bison Standing, a Howard University student and alumni organization and recognized non-profit, claims responsibility for the Instagram post shared by the restaurant; it has since been deleted from Last Bison Standing’s account. In response to the Grill, the student group says there’s been a misunderstanding, and the fundraising campaign was part of an ongoing “pay it forward” initiative to support and give back to black-owned businesses. On Instagram, Last Bison said they’ve since reached out to the restaurant and that “This is a Learning Lesson for us.”

A separate GoFundMe page to “Save Florida Avenue Grill,” launched five days ago by user Troy Mitchell, has been taken down. Washingtonian has reached out to GoFundMe, Last Bison Standing, and Florida Avenue Grill for comment, and will update accordingly.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.