Sunrise Deli has been feeding the tech industry for the past decade, we have catered almost every major corporation, startup, and skyscraper in the Financial district. This restaurant is an immigrant run, family owned small business and we are now being sued by a multimillion-dollar corporation for attempting to exit a lease that would have left us destitute. This tiny restaurant has been a saving grace for us, it is the reason a humble midwestern family had the ability to create a bright and lucrative future in California. It has supported my family for almost 20 years, and all of our livelihoods in this moment are dependent on its survival. Like many other restaurants, ours has been deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We have lost close to 80 percent of our business, due to the fact that our primary source of income came from catering for offices in the FIDI, and large social gatherings where we would work our food truck.

My brother signed a 6-year extension on a brick and mortar located on 2nd & market, 2 weeks before the country declared a massive lockdown would take place. With most major players, like Salesforce, saying they won’t be back before August of 2021, we were at a complete loss. We attempted to negotiate with the owner of the building, but to no avail, no rent forgiveness or any form of renegotiation was offered. My brother acted in good faith for months, attempted to reach the building, a multi-millionaire who owns multiple million-dollar landmarks throughout the city, but nothing. Ambiguous at best, he told my brother not to worry, things will return to normal soon enough, as Covid-19 progressed he stopped responding, and instead began using his lawyers as his only form of communication. Finally, on Sept. 6th, my brother closed the door on a location that has been personally serving the FIDI for over a decade, and made the scary decision to possibly breach a contract.

My parents and brother are truly the hardest working people I know, seeing them struggle through this has been heartbreaking to say the least. This is not an uncommon story, there is no safety net, we are expected to put the corporate and monetary interests of the wealthy people who own the buildings we operate in over our own survival.

If any of you know Sunrise Deli, you probably remember it as the place your parents would take you to get the best falafel this side of Dearborn. The surly looking but big-hearted man, my father, who tirelessly served you falafels on even his worst days.

I don’t know if my family’s business is going to survive. The building owner has decided to sue us, and is attempting to essentially take everything we’ve built, all over a contract that was signed barely two weeks before we could even comprehend the weight of what was happening. We are asking for assistance in covering the legal fee’s necessary to take this to court if we are unable to settle with the other party. We believe we have a strong case, but are going up against extremely wealthy people with extremely expensive lawyers. Their threats are long and drawn out, asking for the absurd amount of over 1 Million dollars, included in that would be their legal fees if they win. We simply don’t have this, what is expected of us from this group is truly impossible. What is a loss of profit to them, is a question of survival to us.

Asking for money has never been the style of my family, we are proud and work diligently for everything we have, but anything you can spare will truly help. Most importantly, share this, not just for my family, but for every small business owner suffering at the hands of this pandemic and corporate greed.
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