Long Beach restaurant still in business after plea for help goes viral

After Oscar Rodriguez's call for help to save his restaurant went viral, community members continue to offer support to help keep Cantarito Molito's Grill afloat.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Restaurant owner Oscar Rodriguez issued a heartfelt plea on Instagram in January 2021, asking the public for any assistance to keep his struggling business afloat.

"I cry every time I see it because I know what I was feeling at that moment of desperation," said Rodgriguez, owner of Cantarito Molito's Grill. "At that moment, I was like, 'OK, I need help. I don't want to close my dreams.'"

In that moment, Rodriguez said the shelves in the kitchen were empty, his cooks were asking for meat, and there was only $50 in the cash register. He said he was in danger of losing his business that he just opened in February 2020.

Not before long, Rodriguez's video went viral, striking a chord with people everywhere. To date, more than 100,000 people have viewed the Instagram video.

"It was very emotional, but I think it cut to the heart of the situation we're in now," said John Jurisic, a new customer from Long Beach. "Any support that we can give to our neighbors, we need to."

Within days of posting the video, Local Hearts Foundation, a Long Beach nonprofit, offered their support.

"This is Long Beach and we got to take care of each other," said cofounder Tito Rodriguez. "We got to stand up for each other when one falls, we got to pick them up."

Through fundraising, the Local Hearts Foundation was able to raise $2,000 for Rodriguez.

"Everybody who's out there who has a small business who can't sleep at night, I just say, keep your faith and keep going," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he is now able to hire more staff.

Cantarito Molito's Grill is located at 2300 Pacific Coast Hwy in Long Beach.

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