The Yang family has owned Old Mandarin Islamic restaurant in San Francisco's Outer Sunset since 1997. It's a neighborhood staple, but Shuai Yang says last year was difficult, "the toughest year we've had."
Like so many restaurants, Shuai's family built a parklet, which even as California climbs out of the pandemic is still important. "There's a lot of people that aren't ready for indoor dining and they enjoy the outdoor dining."
But in May, Shuai says someone from PG&E called and said they would send over a carpenter because they may have to remove the parklet for work on the street. "But no one really showed up to check out the parklet or talk to me."
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Shuai says he called PG&E repeatedly, but never got any answers until San Francisco's Department of Public Works put a notice up last week to remove the structure immediately. So, he spent the weekend tearing down the parklet that cost his family $6,000.
"They are a giant company. I hope they have some sympathy for small businesses like us. And also I don't want this to happen to anybody else."
PG&E says they're making upgrades to their natural gas pipeline on Vicente Street. In a statement sent to ABC7 they said: "We recognize that communicating with our customers is critically important in these situations. We are looking closely at what happened here to identify how we could have improved our communication with Mr. Yang, and apologize for any frustrations he experienced during this process."
"I think PG&E clearly dropped the ball," said San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar, who lives in the Sunset and has been to Old Mandarin. He says PG&E and the city showed a lack of sensitivity towards small businesses.
"We've asked PG&E to do whatever they can to make this right for the restaurant and I'm also asking public works to rescind the removal order."
Customers also have ideas:
"The least they could do is help them put the parklet back up when they're finished," said Daly City resident Syd Airey.
"And give him his money back, he can't afford $6,000," said Leslie Trook, who lives in the neighborhood.
Supervisor Mar also wants to city to provide more advanced notice to businesses.