Misuta Chow's Relief Fund

***MAY 1 UPDATE***

Hey guys, my family and I want to thank everyone so much for all of your support the past three weeks. We'd also like to thank all of our local business supporters that have joined forces with us to produce pop-up events at Misuta Chow's for our loyal local customers.  If you are interested in working with Misuta Chow's on a pop-up event please email [email redacted].

Every single dollar donated so far has already gone toward helping to keep Misuta Chow's above water, and we wanted to share exactly how. Thanks to your generosity, we've been able to:

1. Continue feeding frontline workers.
2. Provide financial support and meals to employees unable to receive unemployment or stimulus checks.
3. Stay current on rent*, workman's comp insurance, utilities, and payroll.
4. Replenish stock on merchandise.

A substantial portion of our personal unemployment stimulus funds have been going back into the business on a weekly basis, as have any residuals from Stone Sour publishing and royalty payments. We're fighting with everything we have to ensure that when this is over, Misuta Chow's is able to reopen and bring all our employees back to work. The struggle is real -- for all of us. And we can't thank you enough for being part of this family.


Hey guys, Johny Chow here, bass player for Stone Sour. Some of you may not know this, but along with my family, I am the owner of Misuta Chow's Restaurant, Bar and Arcade in Downtown Buffalo, NY.  Misuta Chow's employs more than 30 members of our community on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. 

We recently learned, however, that we are ineligible for any funding through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program. Our hearts were broken that we had to close our doors this past week due to COVID-19. While we hope and pray this is temporary, these times are incredibly overwhelming, uncertain and stressful for us all, especially our staff.  Closing was the only hope we had of being able to continue paying our rent, utilities, insurance, and the limited remaining payroll for the last of our most essential employees — but how long we can survive still waits to be seen. 

Our closure has caused a great many people from all over the world to reach out to see how they can help our team through this difficult time and so, we have created the Misuta Chow's Relief Fund to streamline these incredibly generous and heartwarming offers of assistance and support.

We are starting this GoFundMe effort as a way to keep our business viable for reopening when this crisis has abated, to enable us to continue feeding frontline workers as often as possible, and to continue donating meals and essential items from our Misuta Mart to our family of staff. Reaching our goal would allow us to survive being closed for up to 10 weeks. 

Check out the links below from our opening in July 2018 to learn more about our vision and the space we created:

Taste And See Misuta Chows 

Step Out Buffalo 

Buffalo Magazine 

Stieglitz Snyder Architecture 

Read about our local efforts during the first weeks of the pandemic below, which include partnerships with Buffalo Resilience and WNY Feeds The Frontline to provide meals and materials to local frontline workers:

ABC7 Buffalo Misuta Chows 

WKBW Buffalo 

On behalf of Misuta Chow's, please accept our deepest gratitude for your overwhelming show of compassion. We realize everyone is struggling right now. Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. Our hearts go out to everyone. We are in this together, and we will get through it together. We look forward to welcoming you back into our home at 521 Main St. in Downtown Buffalo, and to thank you all in person, very soon.  As we continue to be safe and take care of each other, please consider making a donation to help support our Misuta Chow's community if you are able. Every single dollar counts.

A couple frequently asked questions we’d like to answer from the start:

Why did not qualifying for the Paycheck Protection Program force Misuta Chow’s to close?

The CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program in an effort to keep small businesses open and allow them to retain or rehire staff they would otherwise lose. In simplest terms, businesses apply for the loan, which is then forgiven as long as 75% of the funds are used toward payroll. The other 25% is forgiven as long as it is used toward rent and utilities.

When local restaurants were ordered to close operations other than takeout and delivery, they all saw their revenues slashed. Misuta Chow’s fought to stay open for three weeks, but we saw a 90% drop in revenue. The PPP would have taken the burdens of payroll, rent and utilities off the business, allowing us to focus our limited resources on replenishing stock and paying for other daily operations. Managing all operating costs on only 10% of our typical revenue, however, was not going to be possible.

Why is Misuta Chow’s not eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?

On March 12, Misuta Chow’s filed for temporary debt relief through Chapter 11. The PPP in all its details was announced roughly three weeks later. Businesses presently involved in a Chapter 11 proceeding are not eligible for the PPP. Read our blog post to learn why Misuta Chow’s filed Chapter 11: 

We Want To Be The First To Tell You 

Does that mean my donation would be going toward paying off old debt?

Absolutely not. When a business files Chapter 11, their old debts are immediately placed on hold — for up to 10 months. In other words, our “old debts” are currently not due. In fact, we are legally prohibited from paying on our old debts at this time. The purpose of the hold under a Chapter 11 is to allow a business the time it needs to build enough working capital to create viable payment plans for all of their old debts. Businesses are given up to 10 months of debt relief to create and enact those payment plans. Absolutely zero of the funds raised in this effort will go toward paying the business’ debts.

Can you be more specific as to how these funds will be used?

Misuta Chow’s wants to make sure the 30 employees we had to layoff because of this crisis have a job to come back to when this is all over. For that to be possible, we have to stay current on rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, equipment leases, and our start-up loan from the Small Business Association. We also want to do everything we can to support our local community. These funds will allow us to continue providing weekly meals and materials to frontline workers through our partnerships with organizations like Buffalo Resilience and WNY Feeds The Frontline — and to continue paying the salaries and payroll of the few essential employees and contracted workers that make doing so possible. We are also providing weekly meals to our staff members, and donating essential items to them from our Misuta Mart.

Are you seeking other means of funding?

Anywhere and everywhere we can find them. We have applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, for which we are eligible. We have applied for a number of smaller relief loans through the industry leaders providing them. We are constantly seeking any and all relief that may be available to us. In addition, we are continuing the sale of merchandise on our website www.misutachows.com. Currently, T-shirts and hats are available. We’ll soon be adding quality pins from 1979 Designs and Hello Kitty bottled soy sauce. Fans of Chow and Stone Sour can also expect to soon see rare and autographed merchandise and collectibles available through the appropriate channels.

Isn’t the owner a millionaire?

Not by a long shot. Without going down the rabbit hole of how the music industry compensates its artists, we can assure you that the owners of Misuta Chow’s live a modest lifestyle that is likely not much different than yours. There are no mansions, no fancy cars, no private jets. They rent an apartment, they share one vehicle, and they pay for their son’s education. The diligently saved earnings accrued from their successes in life is what allowed them to create the incredible, loving space that is Misuta Chow’s. Our staff will be the first to tell you, and our local community the second: the owners are the most genuine, real, selfless, transparent business owners you will ever meet. There are no ulterior motives. There is no capitalizing on crisis. Like all of us, our owners are merely doing everything they can to survive as best they can, and as long as they can.


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Johny Chow 
Buffalo, NY
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