EXCLUSIVE: SF restaurant owner unsure of future in city after business rocked by explosion

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Saturday, July 24, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: SF restaurant hit by explosion; unsure of future in city
Dramatic surveillance video shows the moments a San Francisco restaurant was rocked by an explosion Monday morning.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Dramatic surveillance video shows the moments a San Francisco restaurant was rocked by an explosion Monday morning that was so intense, police say it activated their ShotSpotter technology, a sensor that detects gunshots.

"It feels like a terrorist...an explosive is not acceptable," said the owner of Lapats Thai Noodle Bar Pinyo Charoensuk.

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While police don't know what or who caused the explosion they say this is uncommon. It may be the final straw for this small family-owned business that was also broken into months earlier.

"An explosion is too aggressive. Cracking window is okay, maybe some small stuff but this one is too big." said chef Charoensuk.

The vandalism along this corridor of the Tenderloin has been rampant in recent weeks, according to the Executive Director of the Tenderloin/Lower Polk Merchants Association, Rene Colorado. He has been keeping track of these incidents and says independent Asian-owned businesses that have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic already make up the majority of the targets.

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"Everything happened between Larkin and O'Farrell and Eddy and it happened within three days, nine businesses got all of their windows broken out," said Colorado.

He says the neighborhood is like the stock market with its ups and downs. Despite neighborhood improvements such as the community ambassador program, he believes there is still room for more.

"The mayor's office supported the two-block street closure. This made Larkin very safe but only Thursday through Sunday. All of those issues have been happening out of those time frame windows," said Colorado.

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For now, chef Charoensuk and his family will try and sell enough off their street food specialties to pay for thousands of dollars in damage and move on one step at a time.

When asked if his business will make it despite this recent setback, he said, "I'm not sure. I'm going to do my best."

San Francisco police ask anyone with information about the blast to reach out to them at 415-575-4444.