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Friday Lunch Bunch Shows Support for Shuttered Fresno Eateries
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 years ago on
May 12, 2020

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While dine-in portions of restaurants in Fresno remain closed because of shelter-in-place orders, a group of foodies have created their own table experience.

“We plan on meeting every Friday here for lunch until our government leaders open up these small businesses and let them have a right to their constitutional amendment to make a living.” — Rita Amaro

In the nearly-empty parking lot at the Villagio Shopping Center at Blackstone and Nees avenues, nearly 30 people brought their own tables and chairs for a luncheon.

The group was there last Friday, eating take-out from nearby Pismo’s Coastal Grill. The group includes real estate agents, attorneys, and a few servers from Pismo’s itself.

“It frustrates me … This my livelihood, where I get my income from and I’m able to pay bills and actually support other small businesses. So we decided to do a sort of a protest where we come and we sit and we gather in a group and actually enjoy a lunch,” Aly Amaro, a Pismo’s server, said.

She was joined by her mother, Rita, and their friends. They promised to return.

“We plan on meeting every Friday here for lunch until our government leaders open up these small businesses and let them have a right to their constitutional amendment to make a living,” Rita Amaro said.

Restaurants Struggling to Open

Many in the lunch group say they are friends of Pismo’s owner Dave Fansler. The restaurateur said he is losing millions by being forced to close Pismo’s dine-in service. He wanted to open last week to customers — taking physical distancing precautions — but worried that he would be stripped of his liquor license.

Waffle Shop owner Ammar Ibrahim did open his dining room for three days. The city issued two citations totaling $6,000 to the northwest Fresno diner.

But, fearing the $10,000 penalty that would come with another citation, Ibrahim announced Tuesday he was returning to take-out only.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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