Restaurant in danger of closing gets help from local TikTok stars
A Stamford restaurant in danger of closing has gotten some influential help in its effort to stay open - a popular TikTok account.
El Charrito Restaurant on East Main St. has been serving up authentic Mexican cuisine there for almost six years, but owner Alexandra Terron is now facing eviction. Like many in the restaurant industry, Terron has had a tough two years, forced to close multiple times during the pandemic, including when she and her employees got COVID-19.
"I got sick over the summer for almost a month and a half. It was crazy," Terron said.
She also had to deal with her equipment breaking. Terron said she applied for PPP loans but was denied.
"You know when you go into quicksand, and you start going down? That's how I was going. It was like quicksand for me. Bills were piling up. I couldn't pay for them," Terron explained.
She started a GoFundMe effort, hoping to save the business. Social media account HeyStamford! posted about Terron's situation on Instagram, which is where it caught the eye of Norwalk couple Ling and Lamb. The duo has 2.9 million followers on TikTok and 749,000 subscribers on YouTube, which they asked to rally around the restaurant.
"So we just got the terrible news that El Charrito is about to be evicted," they said in a video posted to social media. "They have a GoFundMe. They're trying to raise $50,000, and we want to beg you guys. And again, this is a surprise to them. GoFundMe is in our link or you can stop by. They're right in Stamford, CT."
Ling and Lamb didn't know Terron and had never been to El Charrito until that day, but their support and reach have helped the fundraising effort top $26,000.
"You don't think anybody would do that for other people, you know? Using their platforms," Terron said.
Besides the donations, they've introduced new customers to El Charrito. Oreanna Fulmore and her friend stopped by Wednesday after seeing Ling and Lamb's video.
"The tacos were amazing so I'm pleased. Satisfied customer," Fulmore told News 12.
"I'm really, really grateful. I really am," Terron said.
She said she's hoping to move into a new location in the coming months.