New DoorDash entrepreneur support program awards two Long Beach restaurants $20K

Two Long Beach restaurants were recently announced as winners of the DoorDash Main Street Strong Accelerator Program, a new program by the food delivery company in partnership with the Accion Opportunity Fund, to help support small-business entrepreneurs from underserved communities hit especially hard through the pandemic with monetary aid and educational opportunities.

Both Spicy Sugar Thai in Alamitos Beach and Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu House in East Village will receive $20,000 to use toward their business and access to an eight-week curriculum course covering topics such as marketing, technology integration, managing cash flow and menu creation from restaurant industry experts.

“I’m really excited,”  said Sugar Sungkamee, owner of Spicy Sugar Thai. “I’m surprised. I didn’t think I was gonna get it. I thought there was too many people that applied.”

One hundred restaurateurs were accepted into the program and will have access to the course, however only 25 restaurant owners were awarded the $20,000 grant.

Of the 25 recipients, 18 are based in Los Angeles, two in Long Beach, and one each in Redondo Beach, Van Nuys, Pasadena, Inglewood and San Gabriel.

Spicy Sugar Thai is a woman-owned business opened by 29-year-old Sungkamee in 2015. Her menu is inspired by her late father Chef Tui Sungkamee from Jitlada Thai restaurant in Hollywood.

Sungkamee said she plans on putting the $20,000 toward renovations to her dining room and to hire back more employees now that Long Beach has entered into the “orange tier,” which allows for higher indoor dining capacities.

Sura Korean BBQ owners Claire Kim and her husband Brandon Sugano said they were very excited to win. The couple opened up the authentic Korean restaurant in 2008 and also bought Fine Feathers Kombucha on Long Beach Boulevard last year.

“Super excited for this program and hope the accelerator takes us to new heights in the Long Beach culinary scene,” Kim said.

Editors note: This story has been updated with a quote from the owner of Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu House.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.