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Syracuse North Side Business Owner Explains How COVID-19 Relief Grant Will Help Him Amid Pandemic


A restaurant on Syracuse’s north side has tried everything to stay afloat since last March. Ullys Mouity owns Taste of Africa on Danforth Street.

“During the pandemic, maybe like a month after it started, financially we were almost about ready to close down the business.”said Mouity. “We really had to reinvent ourselves in order for us to continue. What we did is, on the same building we have the empty space that we ended up turning into take out.”


The pandemic hurt many local businesses, but Mouity says for him that was just the beginning.

“Unfortunately for me people broke in and stole most of the equipment that was inside. We basically lost a lot of stuff during the pandemic.” 

Fortunately for Mouity and 38 other business owners, the Syracuse Economic Development Corporation awarded a combined $350,000 in COVID-19 relief grants this week. Mouity received one of the larger awards of $10,000. 


“The grant will definitely help us just keep up with our daily expenses because of some of the equipment that we purchased. It would help us pay that off.” said Mouity.

Mouity also credits his family’s support for keeping the business alive.

“I was literally ready to throw the towel and just give up. I’m very fortunate I’m surrounded with my family, my wife, my in-laws, my cousins . Everybody really pitched in and helped me stand on my feet.” said Mouity.

Restaurants received the most grants by far, but other businesses such as child care centers, interior decorators, and fitness centers also benefited.

Since the start of the pandemic, the City of Syracuse, through the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA) and SEDCO, has distributed a total of 124 grants and loans to local small businesses and non-profits. The support totals $1,308,000.




Here's the complete list:

  • All About Me Childcare Center
  • Art of Message/Spa @ 500
  • Beer Belly Deli
  • Bellows Construction Specialties
  • Blarney Stone
  • Casa Mia Foods
  • Cathy's Cookie Kitchen
  • Clinton Street Pub
  • CNY Uniforms Plus
  • Coleman's Irish Pub
  • Crouse Marshall Business Improvement District (CMBID)
  • Interior Innovations
  • Diversify-NY
  • Domain Construction Group
  • Downtown Syracuse Foundation
  • East Genesee Regents Association (EGRA)
  • Evergreen Restaurant
  • Freedom of Espresso
  • Gypsy Freedom
  • It Takes a Village Family Childcare
  • La'Tonia Creative Specialists
  • Miss Prissy's BBQ
  • Northeast Hawley Development Assoc. (NEHDA)
  • The Hop Spot
  • Phoebe's Restaurant
  • Pretty & Pink Party Planning
  • Salt City Coffee
  • Solvay Food Market, Inc.
  • Sound Univercity
  • Southside Fitness
  • Spoon & Chopsticks
  • SubCat Studios
  • Surf City Enterprises
  • Taste of Africa
  • Tier One Building Services
  • Time 2 Eat Catering
  • Westcott Coffee Company/Recess Coffee
  • Yvette Edwards Day Care
  • XO Taco  


Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at