chino locos toronto

15-year-old Toronto restaurant uses one last financial resort to stay in business

A Toronto burrito spot that's in danger of closing within days is trying one last resort to save their business.

Chino Locos has been a fixture in Leslieville since 2008, but now they're in urgent need of help from the community to stay open this month.

They were one of the original spots serving overstuffed burritos with ingredients like noodles in them, and has operated three locations over the years but they have now dwindled to this one.

"We love serving you and the community as we have been open 7-days a week for many years for both lunch and dinner," reads a GoFundMe page for Chino Locos with a goal of $25,000.

"We have struggled and struggled to stay open but since the re-opening of businesses and services, we all know there is a 'new normal' out there and the sales numbers have not bounced back."

Their landlord has now given Chino Locos until February 6 to come up with their owing back rent of $24,000.

"We are desperate," reads the GoFundMe page. "Please donate if you can as we try to continue business operations."

Chino Locos had opened a second location at 459 Church St. in 2009 that closed in 2014, then opened another location that year at 368 Broadview that eventually closed in 2019.

Their original Leslieville location had remained open throughout, but times got lean when restrictions hit.

"We relied heavily on government programs and loans to help us get by.  Meanwhile many of our customers have either moved away, left the neighbourhood, or went back to live with mom and dad. Add to that the new reality of the 'new normal,' where people tend to not eat casual takeout as much, or they cook at home more," Chino Locos owner Victor Su tells blogTO.

"The rise of home delivery services, all of that has proven to be a huge hit to our daily sales. In addition, inflation and rising costs of basic goods in some cases have risen 25 per cent to 40 per cent, and those costs have been absorbed by us for many months as we have held on as long as possible not to increase prices."

Chino Locos is still a far ways off from their $25,000 goal with less than a week to reach it.

"We would be very grateful for any help from our fans to help us stay open as we would use the money raised to pay the back rent owing to the landlord," says Su.

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