DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It has been a rough few months for many small business owners in Dallas.
First, there were coronavirus restrictions. Then, this past weekend, many suffered damage from looting.
“You don’t want to give up but at the same time you are tired. It’s devastating.“ said “Chofo” Bianchi, the owner of The Empanada Cookhouse on Ross Avenue in Downtown Dallas.
Bianchi opened his Latin-American restaurant in the heart of downtown on March 13.
Two days later, the city’s shelter-in-place orders forced him to close.
Then, just as his restaurant was getting back on its feet and allowed to expand in-dining capacity to 50%, Bianchi said it felt like “someone broke his soul.”
The alarm at his restaurant went off at 2 a.m. Saturday. Looters set fire to a Dallas police vehicle parked out front, then busted the windows and entered the restaurant.
Inside, looters smashed TVs, light fixtures, dumped out refrigerators and threw chairs causing thousands of dollars in damages.
“There were some tears in the eyes. It was heartbreaking,” Bianchi said. “I don’t know if the people behind this understand all the passion, the blood, sweet, and tears that we have done to get this restaurant up to speed. And in the matter of five minutes, it feels like we have to start all over again.”
And that is exactly what he’s done.
Despite having to close early because of the city’s curfew, The Empanada Cookhouse continued to take to-go orders and make deliveries on Wednesday.
Bianchi said, “We will survive this. It’s just a matter of having some more patience.”