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Updated: May 21, 2020

I live + breath the restaurant industry, the restaurant life. Like so many others, I was on a mission, on a pursuit to have my own restaurant, to have a space where I could do my thing, my way, expressing everything I have learned in my long journey in a relentless industry that I love so much.

With CV19 emerging uninvitedly, attacking the core essence of what hospitality is, made what I have done for nearly two decades now, chasing this allusive dream, seem ever so far right now.

Hi, my name is Sam, and I am the person behind SUSU. I am a restaurant industry enthusiast, a foodie, a beer nerd, bourbon lover, a person who tends to hate + love people at the same time, who's family is often traded + replaced by other restaurant passionate + somewhat obscure individuals... in short, I'm a restaurant man.

Up to not too long ago, I was living the dream, my dream. I moved to Southern California after more than a decade in NYC, started to establish my whereabouts and build a name for myself, I was almost there...I could smell it... I could sense it in my bones... and bam! all of a sudden this monster we couldn't even see, entered our lives and changed everything. This monster is called 'Covid 19' or 'Corona' (often confused with the beer, but definitely not the same buzz).

I believe that until not too long ago, I was still in a state of shock, as I am certain most of my brothers and sisters from the industry were and some still are. I know that so many good people all over the world got hurt and are still hurting right now, and I do not mean to diminish their pain by any means, but I do need to speak of my own pain, and share the cries and tears I hear and see everywhere from fellow industry people.

Since the first opening of the world's first known restaurant, 'The Boulanger' in Paris, France in 1775, our civilization had experienced many pandemics from the 'Philadelphia Yellow Fever' in 1793, to the 'Spanish Influenza' in 1918 (which is said to have killed in one year more than World War I had in four). In my era, AIDS was the first epidemic to resinate and indeed, it did bring change to our daily lives, dramatically changing our sexual behavior. There is no known cure for AIDS to this day, however there are vaccines that will enable you to live a healthy life with 'AIDS'. Then came the 'Swine flu'... the 'Ebola'... and 'Zika', however none of them brought similar effects to our dinning habits and our social habits as CV19 did.

What is so godly-cruel about CV19 is that it is designed to suppress the very essence of what the restaurant and hospitality industry is build around, the art of socializing and the human natural sine qua to socialize. Simply by inserting a new decree into our daily ongoings, the realization that socializing or any human contact and proximity, may put one's life at risk, overnight took the life, breath and living soul out of the restaurant and hospitality industry already struggling body.

Now yes, I know what some of you may say, there is take-out and delivery, there will be some sort of tightly controlled, biological-laboratory style, permissible dinning at some of our favorite restaurants (if they didn't decide to close the doors all together that is), but that I am sorry to say, is not the same. That will simply be a form of survival for the restaurant industry, that will allow it to possibly remain open and figure out how to make financial sense operating in this manner, but the soul will not be there. The laughs, the interactions, the sharing of plates and drinks, the hugs and the shoving... all that will not be allowed or tolerated, all that will leave a carcass on the side of the road that once lead to your favorite restaurant.

That is how I feel on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, after reading about another restaurant I knew, admired and loved, only to hear they will not open up again. After listening to 'industry professional' podcasts sharing their unbearably difficult times we are all in. We have so many questions we would like to ask, but answers to which we simply do not have at this time. The simple, unacceptable truth is that no one knows.

Restaurant people are resilient hard working people. We make it work!, but I'm afraid that CV19 attacked our bone structure, the foundations we have built our craft around for decades. No one really has the answer how the industry is going to look like, at least until a vaccine is found where people will feel confident again to leave their masks and gloves at home, and maybe...just maybe give someone a hug. No one really knows.

I know this much though, I know that we will find a way back, I know that my sisters and brothers are amazing, creative, dedicated, loving and hard working people who have embraced a simple mission into their lives, the mission of making people happy. It's an instinct we have, a need that bind us together, and a demand that humans cannot simply survive without. This is why I know that ... this too shall pass, and that we will be reunited again soon!

Be strong, be safe + I hug you all (from a safe distance...)


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