SINCE the start of the pandemic, independently-owned restaurants have been fighting to keep their doors open.
Tatang, a Filipino American restaurant along Oxnard Street in North Hollywood, California, had to deal with another setback on Thursday, March 11, when it was broken into and robbed of the cash in the register.
Tatang owner and chef JR Martin was in line to get his COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday morning when he received a call from a neighbor that the restaurant’s front door was shattered.
Surveillance video uploaded to the restaurant’s Instagram page shows the suspect entering and taking the cash register in the early morning of Thursday. As the suspect unplugged the register, several signs and glass containers can be seen falling to the floor.
The suspect did not take any of the restaurant’s electronics, Martin told the Asian Journal.
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This is the first time the restaurant has been broken into in its three years of operation.
“The register itself, in terms of what the retail cost is for registers, was probably the same amount of cash that was actually sitting there so it wasn’t a crazy amount of cash,” Martin told the Asian Journal. “Thank goodness I have some background in the food and beverage industry so I built protocols and safety measures to make sure that if by chance we do get it, it’s not something that’s as detrimental.”
Martin filed a police report and an investigation is underway. The front door has been boarded up as they await a replacement.
Despite the incident, Tatang was slated to reopen for takeout and outdoor dining service on Thursday night.
“Many Filipino American establishments do need our support and patronage. A lot of businesses are struggling, us included, and whatever we can do to help keep our community, culture and food represented is definitely worth maintaining,” Martin said.
In addition to its regular menu, Tatang has Dine LA lunch and dinner menus featuring family-style packages until Sunday, March 14.
The Fil-Am chef is currently in the running for the online world’s Favorite Chef competition. The winner will get a $50,000 cash prize.
“That prize money is important to help make sure that we’re going to be okay and that we can do whatever we can to sustain our mission,” he said.