Long Beach eatery's stark message amid pandemic: 'Eat here or we both starve'

Across from the Del Taco and next to the Taco Bell, there is a sign that's hard to ignore: "Eat here or we both starve." It is a simple statement of survival and its resonating with customers.

Video Transcript

- The owner of a struggling Long Beach cafe is getting a good response after putting up a sign that people cannot resist. Eyewitness News reporter John Gregory has this story of neighbors helping neighbors.

JOHN GREGORY: Across from the Del Taco and next to the Taco Bell, there is a sign that is hard to ignore: eat here or we starve. It's a simple statement of survival, and it's resonating with customers.

ROSIE TOJMAN: I love it, we love it, the family loves it here.

GERRI HEARD: Before I became a nurse I was a truck driver, an independent truck driver, so I understand how hard it is to maintain, especially when the economy takes this dive.

JOHN GREGORY: That's just what Bill Cheves wants to hear. He's the owner of the Side Yard Cafe and the man behind the stark message.

BILL CHEVES: I saw it on an old banner on highway 395 about 20 years ago on the way to Mammoth, and I thought it was appropriate for the things that are going on now with COVID.

JOHN GREGORY: Like a lot of independent restaurants in Long Beach, the pandemic has hit the Side Yard Cafe hard. And with food choices all around him, Bill needed a way to connect with customers. He also needed a better menu.

BILL CHEVES: We just bring a fresh menu to the neighborhood. Taco Bell and Del Taco will always be there, but the neighbors are really enjoying the fresh food.

JOHN GREGORY: Good food with a neighborly touch, and that's turning out to be good for everyone.

KELICIA MOORE: Supporting independent people are people just trying to stay afloat. It is always a good feeling.

JOHN GREGORY: Eat here or we starve. It spells out what's at stake for every small independent restaurant during the pandemic. A reminder that when times are tough, neighbors help neighbors. And in this case, it's working.