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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Sunset District trudges through pandemic

Sean Reyes
A vendor delivers products to Lucca Food Deli & Wine Shop in San Francisco on Aug. 30, 2020. (Sean Reyes / Golden Gate Xpress)

Since COVID-19 appeared in the U.S. in February, the pandemic has shown no end in sight for the near future. The nation has seen over 8.1 million positive cases of COVID-19 and over 220,000 dead, according to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Tuesday.

With California having remained on lockdown since March, 50% of San Francisco’s restaurants are not expected to reopen, according to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s announcement in July. The Inner Sunset’s economy seems to have experienced an unprecedented downturn according to many restaurants’ responses, but some within the food industry remain active. 

Lela is a restaurant located in Inner Sunset that mainly serves Mediterranean-Turkish fusion food. Suzan Sarikurt is the owner of the LaLe restaurant. She said that the lockdown has forced her to cut down on operating hours.

“What I managed differently than before is that we started cutting. I have cut the business hours to eight hours for a day, cutting hours on employees, cutting hours on the electricity bill, everything I did to reduce the expenses,” Sarikurt said. “This is a bad business situation. We have lost 60% of the revenue in July compared to Every month before the outbreak of COVID-19.”

Sarikurt had to lay off some long-term employees. As of now, she has three employees left: a chef, an assistant and a waiter. Prior to the layoffs, she had twelve employees, but she said she doesn’t have the money to compensate them for their work anymore. 

Sarikurt also witnessed the closure of some other restaurants next to Lela. Currently, she is discussing with her landlord about lowering her rent. Sarikurt said that despite talking to the landlord, her rent will remain the same.

Sam Kaleh, owner of Lucca Food Deli & Wine Shop, waits behind the register for customers in San Francisco on Aug. 30, 2020. (Sean Reyes / Golden Gate Xpress) (Sean Reyes)

Popular Chinese restaurant named San Tung, hailed by Food & Wine magazine as having some of “The Best Chicken Wings in the U.S.,” has also had similar financial issues. They announced that they will be closed indefinitely until the pandemic ends. Prior to the state lockdown, San Tung announced at the end of January that it would be closing its sister restaurant, San Tung 2.

The owner of the Baiano pizzeria restaurant, Nick Roman, said,” I’m not sure when the epidemic will end, but I know my business will not survive for more than two months. That’s what I can tell you right now.” 

Even though most businesses in the Sunset area are the catering industry, they remain in an awkward position right now; however, certain businesses have functioned more or less how theys always have. 

George Lucca is the owner of the Lucca’s Food Deli wine shop. He said his businesses has been able to weather the COVID-19 storm.

 “Yes, my business is very busy, and we are doing very well. Even if our [operational] time is shortened, people will seize the limited time to come to our store. I am satisfied with that.”

 Lucca laughed and said, ” Even nowadays we are doing more deliveries than before, but we are doing decently. “


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About the Contributors
Jian Yang
Hey! My name is Jian Yang, I'm a 24 years old Journalism major, and I'm an international student from China. I'm currently serving as the News Reporter for Golden Gate Xpress and I'm set to graduate this Spring.

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Sunset District trudges through pandemic