Currently, the number of times ‘Rambo’s Chicken and Burgers’ has been robbed outnumbers the new restaurant’s employees.
"It's been slow. Slow business in this area. Just having a hard time,” said co-owner Olivia Gomez.
Gomez and her husband Ramchandra “Rambo” Sajnani opened the restaurant last October and immediately ran into incredible obstacles.
Their grand opening was the same day of the tragic Independence Avenue fire that killed two firefighters. The arson investigation closed down the street in front of Rambo’s for several days. Since that time the restaurant has also been robbed three times, the last crime occurring last Monday.
"I had fully expected them to lock the door and walk out,” said Michael Donnici.
Donnici heads the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association and wanted to help do something to ensure Rambo’s stayed in business.
"It's up to us as the neighbors to come in and make it thrive again,” he said.
Donnici, along with several other neighbors, took part in a walk-in Thursday - an effort to give back much of the business Rambo’s has lost from the unfortunate crimes surrounding their business over the last eight months.
The effort was started by local resident Michael Stringer, who announced the idea on a local neighborhood Facebook group.
"We need more businesses like this in northeast. We need people to know northeast is not a bad place to live. It's a wonderful place to live,” said Christine Shuck, another local resident who ate at Rambo’s on Thursday.
"Despite these break-ins, there's a lot of really good people in this neighborhood who care,” she said.
The neighborhood cares greatly about the success of Rambo’s because many see the restaurant as a metaphor. Without the success of local businesses, the community is sure to fail.
According to Gomez, it’s the considerate locals who frequent her restaurant who are keeping Rambo’s open.
"That's why we're still here. Because my neighbors. My customers. Nice people,” she said.
Josh Helmuth can be reached at email@example.com