College Park community rallies together to support Cornerstone Grill & Loft

Restrictions, declining revenue and increased debt — it’s a recipe for disaster for many restaurants who are still trying to navigate the pandemic’s impact.

The long-time college town hot spot Cornerstone Grill & Loft in College Park is no exception, but on Wednesday night, they were thanking the community and Terps nation for coming together to keep them open.

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A GoFundMe to support Cornerstone Grill & Loft has raised more than $25,000 in less than 24 hours.

The business, like many, thought they would have to close their doors due to increasing restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases.

They’re a staple in the College Park community and for students attending the University of Maryland – many who donated money to help keep the Cornerstone open.

After all, for many, it’s been a part of college life for decades.

Around 378 people have donated so far.

The owner Mark Srour was overcome with emotion and gratitude when FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis spoke with him Wednesday.

He posted the GoFundMe page 24 hours ago. By Wednesday afternoon, it had nearly $30,000 in donations.

Srour says his goal of raising $75,000 will allow him to keep the Cornerstone open for at least another month.

Srour says the Cornerstone, like many businesses, were in the verge of shutting their doors due to an unbearable revenue decline after capacity limits and more restrictions went into place last week due to rising coronavirus case numbers.

Neighborhood restaurant owners calling it all a crisis, saying they’ve managed to get by this summer by relying on takeout and outdoor seating but now revenue is dramatically down and debt is up. 

Mark Srour says cold temperatures are making outdoor dining impossible and tightening restrictions are killing business.

In College Park, Srour says he must stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. and keep capacity at no more than 25 percent, which has been a struggle for a business that thrives on customers who are college students.

Before the pandemic hit, there were more than 80 employees at the business — now there’s 10.