Community rallies to help struggling Long Beach restaurant following social media plea

Customers and members of the community are rallying around a Long Beach restaurant owner who turned to social media in a last-ditch effort to save his business.

Nearly a week ago, Oscar Rodriguez, the owner of Cantarito Molito’s Grill opened his doors, looked at the empty chairs and tables inside his restaurant and thought to himself he wasn’t going to make it. He broke down, posted a video on Instagram and it went viral. 

"We do have takeout. If you can support me in that way, in any way, I would appreciate it…I don’t want to close my doors, I want to keep going because I do believe in this beautiful restaurant," Rodriguez said in the video. 

He started a GoFundMe in hopes to keep his business alive.

"I actually walked in the walk-in [fridge] and I knew I needed to get meat (asada), which is my main protein and I didn’t have the money because usually, it’s $120," he explained. That day, he only had about $50. 

He added that the closure of outdoor seating greatly impacted his business and he was only making about $300 a day on takeout orders. 

RELATED: Local restaurant owners: 'We can’t survive another shutdown'

However, this Taco Tuesday brings a new day filled with hope. Rodriguez is currently operating his business outdoors after California lifted its regional stay-at-home order last week

Rodriguez, the son of two immigrants, says owning a restaurant has been his dream since he was a little boy and he discovered his love for cooking when he was 12-years-old. He grew up watching his grandmother cook Guatemalan and Mexican dishes.  

"My first job was in the restaurant industry. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for about 30 years. I’ve been a busser, a server, a dishwasher, manager, general manager and I’m here," he said. 

If you can't make it to his Long Beach restaurant, click here if you'd like to help.

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