Browse Directory

The Rocks' iconic dining venues receive grants

Six iconic and independent dining establishments within The Rocks have received an American Express-backed grant in partnership with the International Downtown Association Foundation.

The Rocks, in the heart of Sydney, is one of five locations globally that has received grants to support culturally significant restaurants owned by small business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic. Each local grant recipient has received $19,500 AUD to make business improvements that will enhance their operations.

Emily Roberts, Vice President and General Manager of Global Commercial Services, American Express said, “Small restaurants and cafés are part of The Rocks’ rich heritage. They are an important part of our culture as we reconnect with family and friends and are critical to tourism as we welcome back international and domestic visitors. We want to help reinvigorate small businesses now, especially those who need additional support, to see our diverse communities thrive again.”

The IDA Foundation worked in collaboration with Placemaking NSW to identify a dining precinct in need of support. Placemaking NSW Chief Executive, Anita Mitchell said, “Restaurants have been through so much hardship to survive COVID restrictions and we’re working hard to reactivate The Rocks. We’re very pleased these six establishments have received additional support from the IDA Foundation and American Express to help our tenants bounce back.”

David Downey, Executive Director, IDA Foundation said, "The IDA Foundation is pleased to support the recovery of these restaurants who contribute to the identity and vitality of their local community.”

Grant recipient Edward Ng, Maitre D’ of Sergeant Lok who operates from the former home of the No.4 Police station, shares how their modern Chinese cuisine reflects on the 1870s when The Rocks was known as "Little Canton", a place where Chinese businesses and merchants flourished.

“One of our most popular dining spots are the heritage-listed jail cells. We will use the funds to upgrade the lighting and sound to create much-needed ambience, to enhance the interiors and emphasise its historic location,” said Edward.

Renowned café Tea Cosy has been run by local operator Ash Kinchin and her family for 35 years, and it supports a diverse team hailing from ten different countries. Ash shares how the business will use the grant to revitalise their outdoor dining area to encourage increased patronage.

Ash said, “We will spend our grant on making our outdoor space truly feel like a little oasis in the city. We’ll put communal knitting baskets on each outside table, with links to our own online tutorials. This grant will also allow us to have weekly prizes and competitions, making Tea Cosy an even more tempting place to stop.”

Other grant recipients include ASLAN Coffee Roasters, Pony Dining, Black and White Espresso and La Renaissance with funds being used to support renewal and growth.

The ‘Backing International Small Restaurants’ grants build on American Express’ wider Backing Small community giving program that provides economically vulnerable small businesses with financial support and other resources to address their needs and challenges. The program builds on American Express’ efforts to support small businesses year-round, including through its Shop Small campaign, a global movement that shines a spotlight on small businesses, and the First Nations Business Growth Program, a 12-month program in partnership with Rare Birds to provide mentorship, masterclasses, and networking events.




American Express, 23rd May 2022