At the end of this month, a popular restaurant in Downtown Oakland, named Le Cheval, will unfortunately close. This restaurant, situated at the corner of Clay and Tenth Streets, holds a special place in Oakland’s history according to many people. Son Tran, the owner, doesn’t think that the virus is why they had to close.
Instead, he said that crime is what’s killing his business. Le Cheval was started by Tran’s mother and his family 38 years ago. Vietnamese food with a bit of French flavor is served at the restaurant. “What’s very popular are the spicy wings, the cube steak, and the garlic noodles,” said Tran.
“This is our go-to (spot). We ordered our lunches; we came after lunch,” who has been coming to Le Cheval for 30 years, said, “I’ve had many birthdays here, many celebrations for people.”
“I’ve been coming here for about 10 years. And my heart hurts. There’s a lot of businesses, not just this one, but a lot of businesses are closing down. And it’s sad,” customer Robin Andrews said. Tran said that Le Cheval will close on September 30.
When I said shutdown, everyone cried, my family members, my employees. I feel really bad — It broke my heart,” Tran told the restaurant when he told them the news. In order to save the restaurant from closing permanently, he let some employees go, cut back on the restaurant’s hours, and ceased opening on Sundays.
He is unable to continue, though. He noted that the company is only operating at roughly 25% of its pre-outbreak levels. “Even with free rent right now, we still cannot survive,” Tran said. Even though the business has been broken into several times, the most recent time was three months ago, he says the closure is because of car break-ins and violent crime.
Le Cheval restaurant in Oakland is shutting down because they say there’s too much crime going on:
Some people were even robbed by people with guns. “Even right in front of the restaurant, their car is still broken into. And they’re really mad. And they told me ‘Son, I love your restaurant. I love your food. I love your family, but I cannot come back to Oakland. A $30 meal becomes $500 something,” said Tran.
“I’m afraid to drive my vehicle here, so I actually caught an Uber here. I won’t drive it because it could cost you a couple of grand with your windows gone,” said Mouton. According to Oakland police, car break-ins have increased by almost half compared to this time last year.
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From January 1st to September 10th, people told the police about 10,176 instances where cars got broken into. The department also said that robberies went up by 30%. “The lack of office workers did not kill us.” Tran said, “The crime, the criminals, killed us.”
Nikki Fortunato Bas, who is president of the City Council, said that the police department will soon add more foot patrol cops to make it easier to find them. Also, the CHP is sending help.
Council President Fortunato Bas said, “We know people are fearful. We know they’re frustrated. They are hurting. We don’t want to lose another business. We are listening and we are working on action.”
But Tran said that Le Cheval is too late. “Mad, really mad, very disappointed. The politicians in Oakland here, they can do nothing, just talk only,” Tran said.
Tran wants to take some time off after the end. He wants to reopen the business, but he wants to do it somewhere else. The Oakland citizen said that it probably happened in a nearby city, but not in Oakland.