TOPPENISH, Wash. – Nearly a year after opening, the only Native American restaurant in central Washington is threatened by inflation. With the cost of supplies and food rising, the owner said he was struggling to stay open.
The restaurant had its grand opening last August. Owners Travis Bob and his fiancée, Andrea Moore, own the place together. They said the road to becoming a restaurant was long. The couple started out selling Indian tacos from a food truck and moved into the building last year.
Travis Bob said he never imagined he would have his own restaurant after spending years as a gang member. After spending some time in prison, he decided to take his life in another direction.
“It wasn’t what I signed up for when I was active. Having a family was definitely not… if you had asked me what I was doing tomorrow, I would have laughed at you because what comes with this territory is death or prison,” said Bob.
Like many other small businesses, the pandemic and now inflation have made things difficult. Travis Bob said four months ago he paid $12 for a big bag of flour and now it’s doubled.
The couple have tried many things to stay open, including raising prices to try to keep up with the cost of supplies.
“What I paid $600 is now easily $1100 or $1200 and that’s even less food so we had to raise the prices a bit and even with that I can’t afford them anymore. increase because there is already a lack of people coming in.” said Bob.
They also offer catering, try to set up as vendors at events, and will even extend their hours of service from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting next week.
Travis Bob said they were about to shut down when friends he met on YouTube stepped in to help. The people behind YouTube accounts A Convicts Perspective, OG Triple OG and Latin Pain have asked people to donate to help keep A&B open. They raised $2,000 which Travis Bob was able to use to pay the rent for the building and buy supplies like oil.
“They really cared…if it wasn’t for them…we wouldn’t be open today,” Bob said.
However, Travis Bob said the business still needs help to stay open. He asks community members to stop to eat if they can, or to donate to help keep them open. The restaurant is located at 208 S Toppenish Avenue in Toppenish.
Travis Bob said he knows he’s not the only restaurant in this situation and is keeping others in his prayers.
Some resources are available to help small businesses in need, such as FlexFund, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance, and SBA Debt Relief.