DOWNEY, Calif. – Frank Mendoza has become the master of the fusion food he calls “Mexican Sushi.”
His Sushi Loco Restaurant became so popular, he opened three locations, there was no stopping him and then came COVID-19. When asked how much time he thinks he could stay open without offering dine-in service, he said that he is on “borrowed time, we’re on borrowed money.”
Mendoza currently pays $30,000 in rent for his three restaurants. Right now, he is busy filling take-out orders but it is not enough. Like many restaurants owners, he was hoping to re-open by May 15.
“We were getting ready, we wanted to be six feet apart so if a person sits there you’re at six feet apart, social distancing,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza already started taking precautions for his customers, but reopening in Los Angeles County will take longer than expected.
According to County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, stay-at-home orders for L.A. County will be extended for the next three months. Some individual restrictions would be gradually relaxed, but dining inside restaurants still isn’t permitted. So far, there is no concrete date when restaurants can re-open in L.A. County.
Mendoza says the news is devastating but he is trying to stay positive. He says all he can do now is continue working and being grateful, not only grateful for his customers, but to the Health Department.
“What’s more important? Is it preserving life ours business at the end of the day and I would vote for life,” Mendoza said.
He is just hoping it doesn’t come to that point and that soon he and his fellow restaurant owners will be allowed to fully re-open.
El Sushi Loco is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for take-out orders and delivery through DoorDash and Uber Eats.