Sleepy Balboa Street corridor shaken by vandalism, burglary at 6 restaurants

A broken front door at Art Bistro. | Photo: lauratellsjokes/Twitter
By Camden Avery - Published on April 14, 2020.

A string of restaurant break-ins has shaken the normally sleepy Balboa Village corridor in the Outer Richmond.

Last Thursday between 11 p.m. and midnight, five restaurants on the 3600 block of Balboa — La Promenade Cafe, Kim Son, Little Henry’s, Imperial Palace, and Uncle Lee’s — had their front doors completely shattered by vandals. A few blocks away, Village House (3398 Balboa St.) met the same fate.

Yuka Ioroi, co-founder of the Balboa Village Merchants Association, said that the restaurants all had electronic tablets and cash stolen. 

Given the spike in restaurant break-ins under the shelter-in-place, many that aren't remaining open for to-go service have boarded up.

But three of the restaurants affected in this case — La Promenade, Imperial Garden and Little Henry's — are still offering takeout during limited hours, making the break-ins especially frustrating for owners.

"The morning after, it was almost kind of like a neighborhood meeting," Ioroi said. "Everybody was standing in front of Eat Americana, standing apart and talking to each other. And then everybody started boarding up."  

Photo: Balboa Village Merchants Association/Facebook

In response to the break-ins, the Balboa Village Merchants Association has launched a Gofundme campaign that will help the affected businesses repair the damage. It's currently just shy of its $4,000 goal.

"I hope they'll feel cared for by the neighborhood," said Ioroi, whose restaurant Cassava is located on the neighboring 3500 block of Balboa. 

She said the merchants' association had been in touch with the office of District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer about the rash of burglaries. So far, she said, there's been no word about an additional police presence on the corridor.

Like "a lot of places" in the neighborhood, Ioroi said, she's boarded up Cassava as of today. She and her husband and business partner, Kris Toliao, decided to close the restaurant yesterday, out of concern for potential risks to their staff's health. 

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