Since last Friday, protests connected to the death of George Floyd (for which new charges have been filed against all four officers) have broken out across all 50 states. While protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, some demonstrations have escalated into violence, looting, and property damage. Restaurant owners — beset by financial and staffing burdens from Covid-19 — have seen their restaurants defaced or damaged. Still, many independent businesses have kept their support behind the people who have taken to the street to demand justice and accountability from police nationwide.
Earlier this week after protests in Minneapolis saw Ruhel Islam’s popular Gandhi Mahal restaurant to burn down, Islam said of the damage “let my building burn” and called for justice for George Floyd. Grub Street reports that other chefs across the country like Ria Dolly Barbosa of Los Angeles’ Petite Peso similarly brushed off damage, “Our window can be replaced. George Floyd can’t.” Josef Centeno, owner of Bar Ama and Bäco Mercat shared photos of the damage to his restaurant on his Instagram, and followed up with a post directing supporters who offered to help with donations to direct their funds towards Black Lives Matter, the Bail Project, or the African American Policy Forum’s Say Her Name project instead.
While property damage is certainly causing frustration amongst chefs and restauranteurs, and some — like Handcrafted Hospitality Group CEO Marc Falsetto, who saw multiple properties defaced in one night — have vented their frustrations, many properties have remained vocal in their support for the movement. Here are some of the restauranteurs taking to their social media platforms to announce solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement, voicing their anger over police brutality, and supporting the power of protest.
We had a window broken @busboysandpoets last night. No one was hurt. We understand the rage and we stand in complete and unequivocal solidarity with the protests. #BlackLivesMatter #protests2020 ✊🏾 #TrumpResignNow #Revolution2020
— Andy Shallal (@andyshallal) June 1, 2020
No sooner had media reported vandalism at Teasim in DC, then the company firmly asserted their solidarity with the movement.
Last night I watched as these three individuals briskly walked out of a shattered window at the Teaism teahouse located at 800 Connecticut Avenue NW.
I peered inside the window and saw the dining room was on fire. I immediately called 911. pic.twitter.com/iatzRjD2g7
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) May 31, 2020
Before anyone puts a single word in our mouths. Black lives matter.
— Michelle (@TeaismATeaHouse) May 31, 2020
Yes, we had some windows broken @FoundingFarmers on Penn Ave last night. Most important, none of our team was injured. Equally important, my team & I stand firmly with the message of the protest. If America's leaders (and citizens) listened to @Kaepernick7 when he peacefully
— Dan Simons (@DanSimonsSays) May 31, 2020