For many years, Firebox was an award-winning restaurant connected to the work of Forge City Works. As a result of COVID-19, the restaurant was closed in April 2020. We are excited to announce our plans to open a new full-service restaurant in the Winter of 2022-23. This new restaurant, tentatively named Fire by Forge, will be an upscale casual, chef-driven, Pan-American inspired, café, restaurant, and bar. The restaurant will be fully integrated with our culinary and customer service job training program, and will also provide transitional employment opportunities, internships, and apprenticeships.
In addition to being an employment-based social enterprise, we are building the restaurant around an equity model. This means we are thinking outside the box when it comes to compensation, recruitment, hiring, promotion, and operations to make diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) part of our DNA. We are also committed to providing opportunities for living wages, profit sharing, and access to benefits.
Phase 1 of this project will be some renovations and build-out. We have applied for a Hart Lift grant to help pay for the buildout. Through the newly created Hart Lift program, the Hartford Chamber of Commerce is directing up to $6,000,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to property owners throughout the City of Hartford who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To receive a full grant of $150,000 we need to raise $75,000 as a match.