Man starts Facebook group to highlight Pleasant Hill restaurants still open for take-out

Like most restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic, it's a struggle for survival in big cities and small bedroom communities alike.

In the community of Contra Costa County's Pleasant Hill, things are no different.

"We're down 70 percent of the normal business we do," said Angela Warren owner of WiseGirl Ristorante.

But it could be worse and it may even start to get a little better, thanks to one Pleasant Hill resident, Alex Khodadad.

Last week he started a Facebook group called 'In and Around Pleasant Hill--Food To Go Under COVID-19.'

The group has grown to 1,200 people and counting.

"A lot of these local restaurants have given to us for our kids, sponsoring basketball games. This was a chance to give back to them," said Khodadad.

The idea of the Facebook group is  to generate support for restaurants in the area that are still open on a to-go basis. People can offer recommendations and the restaurants can publicize any promotions they're running.

"To see so many people come out and support us during this time and make sure we are cared about and loved, that what we are doing is means the world to us," said Warren.

"We do not want these restaurants to go out of business," said Khodadad.

But the California Restaurant Association is forecasting that 20-30% of all restaurants will go out of business if they don't receive state aid.

And restaurants generate more sales tax revenue in California than any other industry in the state.

But despite the struggle WiseGirl is offering 100 free meals to hospital workers this month.

Nearby, Slow Hand BBQ is offering free meals to workers at other area restaurants. The owners have noticed a difference since the Facebook group began.

"It's pretty shocking how quickly it has grown and how people are flocking to it. It makes you feel you are not in it by yourself," said co-owner Dan Frengs.