San Francisco

Despite Uncertain Future, San Francisco Restaurateur Opens New Location

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A San Francisco eatery is bucking the odds, opening a new location right in the middle of the pandemic.

The restaurant, Chinatown Tacorea, sits on the edge of Chinatown, a neighborhood that has been particularly hard hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19.

The spot is designed and set up for pickup orders. There is no indoor or outdoor dining.

"It's going to be a mixture of Korean and Mexican food," owner David Lee said. "They can come and get. It's quick."

Lee said he's aware of the times. He designed the business so people can order, grab and go.

"I know a lot of businesses are closing, and I hate to see it, but this is also, I kind of see it as motivation," he said.

Lee's first location is near Union Square. He admitted business is way down, but he said he's making it work.

"I was able to get some PPP, which helped me a lot," he said. "That way I brought all my employees back."

In Chinatown, there is a big effort to bring visitors back after the stigma of the virus hit businesses early and hard.

Grant Avenue is being offered up to restaurants and shops as an outdoor dining room.

Betty Louie with the Chinatown Merchants Association said she's seen a recent uptick in business, but she still worries.

"I think there is a lot of stores that wont make it at this point due to many reasons," she said.

Lee remains determined, and he was quick to point out his restaurant is also a tribute to his mother, a fellow restaurateur who had to change her plans after being diagnosed with cancer.

"Unfortunately, she had to close the restaurant because she had to start doing her chemo and everything," Lee said. "She was kind of heartbroken about closing the restaurant, but I kind of tell her, and I tell her now, this is just a continuation of your legacy, of your restaurant."

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