South Bay restaurant $300K in debt as Santa Clara Co. rolls back to purple tier

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020
SJ restaurant in deep debt as restrictions increase again
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Some businesses are struggling with debt from the pandemic, and now face uncertainty about their ability to continue through another phase of shut downs.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- With Santa Clara County falling back into the most restrictive purple tier in the state's reopening blueprint, some businesses are wondering how much longer they'll be able to make it.

"I've been paying income tax, sales tax, property tax every year I haven't been late. Now is the time to help me," said Hassan Azad, Owner of Flames restaurant San Jose.

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Typically business would be booming this time of year given its prime location downtown just a block away from San Jose State University and City Hall, but with no more indoor dining and debt piling up, Azad is pleading for help.

"With the cold weather coming and the rain, all of this stuff. I don't know how I can make it," Azad said.

He shared with ABC7 News one bill for $127,000 from the city trying to recoup past due rent.

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Azad has borrowed money, but with indoor dining off limits and his 200 person banquet room closed indefinitely, he's wondering how much longer he can tread water.

"They have to investigate and find who needs the real help to stay alive. Perhaps I'm not important," he said.

Thankfully, his core customers are just as loyal as his staff. This morning one person was seated outside on the patio ordering a meal while two more men, construction workers, picked up a takeout order.

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"Good food, good customer service. It's like family," said Mateen Ziyad.

"(We have to) figure out something to support all the restaurants downtown to try and keep everyone open. If that means we have to put tents up out here with canopies with everything to make it easier that's what we have to do to help them," he said.

Azad is hoping help is on the way from the city, county, or state. But as a man who immigrated to the states with just a few dollars and a dream, he said he's ready to keep fighting until he can't any longer.

"I'm a fighter I just keep going and keep piling up my debts. I never fail and I don't expect to fail at all," he said.

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Azad owns two other restaurants, one in South San Jose and the other in Campbell.

He said he is close to breaking even at the two other locations.

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