SWFL burger joint steps up to help hurting California restaurant

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jack Lowenstein

The pandemic has put a strain on businesses. Some restaurants are struggling to make ends meet nationwide because of restrictions, but Southwest Florida is stepping up to help.

A Southwest Florida restaurant is jumping in to help a fellow business owner thousands of miles away. The owner of this restaurant saw a video of a restaurant owner in California go viral after her bar and grill got shut down for a second time. He wanted to help and now has a special menu of food from their restaurant that he is going to sell, and all the proceeds will go to his fellow business owner.

Angela Marsden is the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. She is in tears after the state shut her business down, but let other operations run in the same parking lot.

“I know at least five to 10 people personally that are already under or saying, ‘I only have a month left,’” Marsden said.

Marsden told us everyone is having a hard time staying afloat.

“We’re having a hard time as it is now, and we’re open,” said Todd Brooks, the owner of Brooks Burgers in Collier County. “So I could not imagine what it would be like to be 100% closed.”

When Marsden’s video went viral, Brooks and the world heard her cry for help.

“I said, ‘Let’s figure something out. I want to help you pay your rent this month,’” Brooks said. “If they can’t be open, we’ll try to be open for her.”

For the rest of the year, Brooks Burgers will have a special menu of some of the California restaurants bestselling items. Every time an item sells, the money will go back to Marden’s business.

“It is a very dark and scary time, but hope and truth and things like Todd is doing that shines a light in the darkness,” Marsden said. “And it gives people hope to keep going on, which is what we need right now.”

These are two restaurants that prove thousands of miles in separation does not mean support for each other can’t be there.

“We are all like family no matter who you work for,” Brooks said.

Marsden says she hopes to use extra money raised to help other businesses that are hurting in her town.

“It’s not about politics,” Marsden said. “It’s about people and his heart and what he did for me. I hope I can spread to other people.”

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