Edmonton diners stepped to help a new Japanese restaurant that was struggling after opening during the coronavirus pandemic.
People from all over the city lined up outside Yoshii Express at 104 Street and Whyte Avenue after local foodie Linda Hoang shared its story on her blog. The restaurant became so popular so quickly that owner Alan Demachi had to close on Friday to restock for the weekend.
“[Seeing people] helping each other … I felt really proud to be a Canadian,” Demachi told Daily Hive, saying he feels grateful for the love and support everyone showed his restaurant.
Hoang added she was “so amazed at how the Edmonton area community came together.”
When Hoang ate at the restaurant after a suggestion from one of her followers, she was touched by Demachi’s story. He opened Yoshii Express just over a month ago, and business was incredibly slow because of the pandemic. He was worried about paying rent, and wasn’t giving himself a salary.
“This old man has this really sweet story,” Hoang said. “I started to cry. I felt so sad if this business is going to shut down because no one’s coming.”
So she snapped a picture of Demachi next to a bowl of Ramen, and shared it on social media Tuesday.
Hearing stories of local businesses struggling brings me to tears. Someone on IG asked me to try Yoshi Express, a new Japanese spot on Whyte Ave, because the sweet owner Alan opened just weeks ago & is struggling. Hoping to just make rent. Pls consider eating here! #yeg #yegfood pic.twitter.com/MQ05v6hg7U
— Linda Hoang 💕 (@lindork) June 30, 2020
His story must have resonated, because within hours a lineup had formed outside the door. People messaged Hoang to give her updates about how long the line was — and when Yoshii Express ran out of chicken.
Demachi temporarily closed the restaurant on Friday, July 3 because he was out of ingredients to make his ramen, Japanese-style curries, and bento boxes. But he was back at it by Saturday.
“I really hope that people take this same positivity and keep dong it for other small businesses too,” Hoang said. “I know he’s not the only small business owner who’s struggling.”
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Yoshii Express doesn’t have a website or social media presence, but they are available on Uber Eats.
Hi everyone!! THANK YOU again for supporting Alan/Yoshii Express!! His daughter just sent me a message (gave me permission to share). Alan will be closed July 3 to prep as he’s been so busy thanks to you! 🙏🏻🥺❤️
— Linda Hoang 💕 (@lindork) July 3, 2020
Address: 10443 Whyte Ave NW
Order: Uber Eats