Josh Kim pivoted his Brewerytown restaurant Spot Burger to takeout and delivery in March, to follow the coronavirus restrictions. Buoyed by donations from customers, he gave away food to his neighbors.
His storefront at 2821 W. Girard Ave. was on shaky ground. Literally. Its floor was buckling.
Kim shut down and started repairing the floor. On Tuesday, he got a wake-up call: He noticed neighbors searching for food and staples. A few of the area bodegas had closed. The nearby Aldi supermarket, the largest store for miles, is struggling to meet demand. The ShopRite stores, at least two bus rides away, are closed after looting. The Whole Foods near the Parkway is too expensive, he said. “No one is living a normal life here."
”I got really mad,” said Kim. Then he decided to strip out Spot’s unused seating and to install shelves and refrigeration. On Saturday, Spot Burger becomes a pop-up grocery store selling, at cost, dry goods and staples such as diapers and formula, as well as produce and fresh meats such as beef, chicken, hot dogs, bread, milk, and eggs. “Everything a corner bodega doesn’t have,” he said.
Kim is accepting donations through Venmo (@josh2821), just as he did in March and April when he was cooking for the neighbors.
“My community is hurting,” he said. “We have to do something.”