A beloved Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland, California, is closing its doors due to the rise in crime in the city over the past few years.
Announcing the closure: Le Cheval, which is located at the corner of Clay and 10th Streets in Oakland, has been in business for 38 years, serving Vietnamese dishes influenced by French cuisine. On Saturday, the restaurant announced on Facebook that it plans to close its current branch on Sept. 30 and hopes to continue business elsewhere.
“While this chapter of Le Cheval comes to a close, the Tran Family thank you for your support and will be looking for ANOTHER location to continue to serve you their famous dishes,” Le Cheval wrote.
What happened: Speaking to KPIX, the restaurant’s owner, Son Tran, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic did not push them to close the restaurant. Rather, the city’s rising crime rate is to blame.
“The lack of office workers did not kill us. The crime, the criminals killed us,” Tran said. “Even with free rent right now, we still cannot survive.”
Tran also told KPIX that business these days is around a quarter of what it was pre-pandemic. Some of his customers have allegedly been robbed at gunpoint, while others have had their cars broken into.
“And they told me, ‘Son, I love your restaurant. I love your food. I love your family, but I cannot come back to Oakland. A $30 meal becomes $500 something,” a few customers have said, according to Tran.
Crime in the city: Oakland reportedly saw a 46% increase in auto burglary compared to last year’s reported cases from the same period, KPIX reported, citing the Oakland Police Department. Robbery has gone up by 30%, the department stated.
There was also one report of a burglary at Le Cheval in the past year.