PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As restaurants work hard to survive limitations due to the pandemic they’re also facing a different type of challenge in Portland — a plague of break-ins and crime.
At The Flying Fish Company on East Burnside, where customers line up for fresh seafood and kitchen staples, their outdoor heaters were stolen right off their patio area a few days ago.
“It’s a huge bummer,” Chef Erik Englund told KOIN 6 News. “I mean, you know, we are really just trying to get through these trying times.”
Englund said thieves cut the locks on 5 large outdoor heaters and took off with them, crippling a crucial part of the business plan for surviving the coronavirus pandemic. The thefts come at a time in which restaurants have very little wiggle room.
“We closed up around Saturday night sometime late into the night. They must have come by with a big box truck or a couple big pickups and loaded in the heaters,” he said. “As Kate Brown is allowing us to open back up for outdoor dining next week, we have a beautiful tent outside, but the heaters are kind of a hot commodity right now, no pun intended. So we won’t be as cozy and warm as we would be without those heaters.”
A little more than a block away at the Italian restaurant La Buca, burglars broke in and stole alcohol.
“I think that these are trying times for all of us and I know that many of us are trying to survive,” a La Buca staff member said. “It’s disheartening that people have to resort to that.”
Englund shared a sentiment many restaurateurs have: thanking the customers who are supporting them during this difficult time.
“Thank you, guys! All of our patrons that have been supporting us for years. Thanks to our new ones. Come in and grab some good food.”