Since opening in 2008, Mekong Cafe (5930 W. North Ave., 414-257-2228) has become a favorite among diners in the Washington Heights neighborhood, in nearby Wauwatosa, and throughout metro Milwaukee. The family-owned restaurant—named after the Mekong River in southeast Asia—specializes in Thai, Lao, and Vietnamese cuisine. Miraculously, Mekong Cafe survived the COVID-19 crisis (in spite of no government funding and little in the way of grant support) by working hard, quickly shifting completely to carryout, doing away with the popular daily buffet, and transitioning its dining room into an Asian grocery store.
After facing a gauntlet of challenges since last March, Mekong Cafe now faces yet another unexpected hurdle. This time, they’re asking for customers for the necessary help to allow them stay open. Last week Tuesday, Mekong lost power during a storm that caused outages in more than 100,000 homes and business in the area. Mekong was without electricity until Thursday night, forcing them to throw out all their perishable food and remain closed last Friday as they threw out food and awaited new inventory.
This week, a member of the Mekong ownership family launched a Go Fund Me campaign seeking $25,000 to make up for a portion of the spoiled inventory, lost income from the three-day closure, and lost employee wages all caused by last week’s outage. The business’ needs are outlined on its Go Fund Me page:
“We hope this short-term solution will help bridge the gap and keep us open until we get our insurance compensation. The funds will help pay for what we owe our vendors in the amount of $17,000 and the lost wages of staff. My heart goes out to all my fellow friends, community and small businesses in my area that was also affected by this storm. We stand united in our belief that as a community we will come out of this tunnel stronger still. I thank you all and we remain forever grateful for your support.”
As of publishing time, the crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $16,000 of its $25,000 goal. If you have the means and you want to help an Asian-owned family business that’s been a neighborhood favorite for more than a dozen years, please donate. And please continue to support local restaurants in general during what continues to be an incredibly difficult time.