The French Laundry received PPP loans totaling $2.4 million

The French Laundry just can’t get a break, it seems. Last month, the restaurant became a subject of derision after news outlets reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom potentially violated his own social distancing guidelines by attending a dinner party at the three-Michelin-star restaurant. Now, it’s getting heat for collecting $2.4 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds—that’s 17 times the average forgivable loan received by neighboring restaurants, ABC7 reports. The company appears to have secured this money through two loans, potentially through the use of a subsidiary—a not-uncommon maneuver to bypass the program’s one-loan-per-company limit. That aside, there’s nothing particularly egregious here: Unlike some restaurant chains and franchising giants, French Laundry didn’t take more than the program’s cap, nor did it exploit a chain restaurant loophole in order to qualify as a small business. Perhaps the real shame is the price it’s charging for food: A “White Truffle and Caviar dinner” will apparently set you back at least $1,200—equivalent to the first coronavirus stimulus check. Maybe read the room, Thomas Keller?

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