The COVID-19 shutdown struggle spares no one and that includes Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood. Staff at the legendary restaurant, seen in countless TV shows, is getting an assist from the community.

Photos of happier times were shared Wednesday night by an owner who admits 2020 dealt a body blow to a landmark family business.

“Until the shutdown orders of March 15th. When the pandemic first hit. A little over 3 months. We just were completely dark, didn’t do takeout delivery or anything,” said Musso & Frank Grill owner Mark Echevarria.

Musso briefly re-opened but outdoor dining was unworkable and takeout unsustainable. The owners went into their own pockets and depleted PPP funds to maintain healthcare for 84 furloughed employees, many of who worked at the restaurant for decades.

“Not knowing when they’re gonna be able to work again, also how they’re gonna juggle their personal finances? It has been incredibly difficult on them,” said Echevarria.

But crisis gave way to kindness as longtime customers picked up on the workers’ plight, starting with unsolicited checks in the mail. It inspired the owners to launch a GoFundMe for all of the workers.

“The fund is set up to continue paying for healthcare for them. The family has paid 100 percent of the healthcare throughout the pandemic and will continue this,” Echevarria said.

From hostesses to cooks, bartenders servers, and dishwashers, employees will also get cash for the holidays. And a cut of the profits from Musso website merchandise.

The owners say the goal is mutually beneficial — surviving brutal and unpredictable times.

We’re gonna be that place that didn’t change. That’s what Musso’s is. In Hollywood. Looking forward to that opportunity. Inviting everybody back in,” said Echevarria.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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