Portland restaurant deals with break-ins, pandemic troubles

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"We’re working to stick it out as best as we can”

A Portland restaurant is dealing with back-to-back break-ins while also navigating higher prices and staffing shortages due to the pandemic. (Courtesy Photo: Keaton Tucker)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland restaurant is dealing with staffing shortages due to COVID-19 cases, rising costs in products and now two back-to-back break-ins.

Keaton Tucker, the general manager of South x Northwest in North Portland, said he discovered a broken window panel on Jan. 4 next to one that had been broken about a month prior. Portland Police confirmed the incidents and said electronics were stolen in the latest break-in with several items stolen and damaged during the Nov. 28 break-in.

Tucker said he’s become “numb to it all.”

“I get why that’s a small problem for law enforcement or government because it’s just kind of expected – it’s just the culture,” said Tucker. “So, you kind of just learn to accept it and move on.”

South x Northwest opened last April and sells plant-based comfort food and craft cocktails. When the restaurant opened in the middle of the pandemic, Tucker said they were optimistic about the vaccine and the “end of the virus.”

Now, looking back, he said he’s not sure he would do it again.

“We love our customers. We love our friends and family that come here,” Tucker said. “It’s just been a wild ride. We’re working to stick it out as best as we can.”

When asked if he would consider setting up a GoFundMe for the restaurant, Tucker said he would do it as a last resort. The restaurant has fixed issues with its plumbing, electrical, fridges and heating and cooling system since opening.

“We’re just not getting a lot of luck thrown our way right now,” he noted, while also listing staffing shortages and rising costs due to the pandemic.

Tucker hopes the restaurant can make it through winter and on to better days in the spring. For those wanting to support restaurants during this time, he suggests for people to dine-in or order takeout meals, give a restaurant a good review or share their social media posts.

“We’re optimistic, and there’s still a lot of promise. We see a lot of evidence that this restaurant will be successful give the current state or what are better days ahead,” Tucker said.

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