Iconic Manuel’s Tavern nets $130-K gift from an unexpected source

Battered by the pandemic, iconic Manuel’s Tavern in the Poncey-Highland/Little Five Points area was about to close late last year.

“I hated the thought of it, but I’d really run out of options,” owner Brian Maloof tells WSB Radio, looking back on those dark days.

Then, the community of loyal Manuel’s customers stepped-up. A GoFundMe effort hit an early goal quickly to keep the bar/restaurant’s doors open. To date, it has raised nearly $200,000.

So, in December, Maloof wrote a long, emotional Facebook post to say thank you.

It got noticed - by Mr. Peanut.

The people at Planters saw it and were moved: “Now that’s what I call picking up the tab. After 60 years, Manuel’s is more than a bar. It’s a home away from home.  And that community went #ANutAbove to help them keep their doors open. So I’m donating $130,000 to level up their efforts.”

Planter’s has given away more than $2 million to places like Manuel’s and more than a dozen other bars/restaurants in the U.S. with great back stories and those that get deep community support in this pandemic.

Maloof tells WSB when the Planters’ people first tried to contact him last month, he didn’t believe it. “I swear to you, if Clark Howard had taken that call, he would have just hung up on them because he would have thought it was a scam.”

After a couple of days and chats and emails with company officials, he was convinced. “It turned out to be true, and it’s just been extraordinary.”

Maloof says this is another financial boost to keep going in these continuing pandemic-challenged times.  He says the months ahead still won’t be free and easy sailing, but everything helps.

“There it is, I wrote something from my heart, and it had an impact.”

Manuel’s has been open since 1956.

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