PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD)– Seventeen restaurants were awarded over half a million dollars as part of a federal grant program.

A news release from Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) confirms $670,000 will be awarded to several restaurants in the Peoria and Bloomington areas as part of the Back to Business grant program.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” said Koehler. “Throughout the pandemic, restaurants struggled to keep their doors open. We made a commitment to invest and uplift the small businesses that provide essential jobs and boost our local economies.”

The Back to Business grant program puts emphasis on the industries that have been hit hardest economically.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has granted over $535 million to over 15,000 businesses since the pandemic started.

A few examples of local businesses receiving grant money are Lucca Grill in Bloomington and Rizzi’s in Peoria.

A full list of restaurants benefitting can be found here.