Echo Park

Restaurant Owner Battles Coronavirus by Delivering Food to Hospitals

"So here in Los Angeles, we are rooting for our squad — our first line defenders."

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The coronavirus crisis is forcing many restaurants to do things differently in the hopes of staying afloat during and weathering the storm.

For one Echo Park restaurant owner, that means turning to the community and feeding healthcare workers one delivery at a time.

Like so many restaurants all across Los Angeles, the sign on the door at The Park’s Finest restaurant says "closed," and no one seems to know for how long. But there is also another sign that reads, "serving the community."

And the owner says he’s taking that to heart.

The folks at The Park’s Finest are going back to their roots.

"We started off as a catering company in 2009," Johneric Concordia, co-owner of The Park’s Finest, says. "We do American cuts of barbecue with a Filipino flavor."

Concordia and his restaurant have delivered dozens of orders to hospitals all across LA County since Saturday.

"This is going to be for sixty," Concordia says about one order being readied to go out.

The meals are donated by loved ones, friends, strangers and anyone who wants to help feed health care workers, as they fight on the front lines against an enemy that has cut through the restaurant industry.

"We don't have sports right now; we do not have anybody we can root for," Concordia says. "So here in Los Angeles, we are rooting for our squad — our first line defenders. So, if anyone can chip in, buy you a plate."

Like all other restaurant owners in the county and state, Concordia had to close his dining room, a staple in this Echo Park neighborhood for nearly a decade.

"As a community, we wanted you to sit down and dine and celebrate with your family," Concordia says. "Your accomplishments, your birthdays...but all of a sudden, we had to meet you at the door."

He says he was forced to lay off a third of his staff and his restaurant faces an uncertain future. But for now, he’s managing by taking care of those who take care of us.

"If the whole city can support that, then this is our team," he says.

Concordia says he has delivered more than 900 meals to more than 20 hospitals since Saturday. He also owns the restaurant and bar next door, where any hospitality worker out of work can show up for a free meal.

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