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Thank you Sandy Chen and Koi Fine Asian Cuisine & Lounge.

Another Evanston restaurant owner who is supporting the community even as the pandemic has dealt her business a sucker punch.

"Sandy Chen is the owner of suburban Evanston spot Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge and French restaurant Le Sud in Roscoe Village. Koi remains open for curbside pickup and delivery, and Chen is using its dining room to organize free meals for her staff and family meals for hospitality workers in need, homebound Evanston residents, area healthcare workers, and nonprofit Connections for the Homeless.

Le Sud is closed for the time being, but Chen said she’ll feature an expanded menu with a wider variety of Mediterranean dishes when it eventually reopens.

'For the industry, [this time] is the toughest. I’ve never seen this in my whole life! It’s totally shocking — all these people, what are they going to do?

I have link on my site for industry workers to pick up free meals on site, and it’s going well. We have people sign up every day.

I try to keep myself busy so I came up with this crazy thing: every bag we send out, I put in gift bag with one roll of toilet paper, three almond cookies, a thank you note, and my photo.

The toilet paper was the biggest hit!...We’ve been really lucky to be in the [Evanston] community for 16 years now. It’s about love, the balance of giving and receiving. They gave us so much and they support us, and we have to give back to the community and give help to people who need it...

Sometimes I think, ‘I’m so lucky to be in this industry.’ It’s not only a job to me, it’s a lifestyle.'”

--- from an interview in Eater Chicago's article "Restaurants Power Through Self Doubt as Pandemic Continues," published yesterday. Read more here.

[photo: Sandy Chen (official photo)]

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