Heartless Robber Breaks Into River Oaks Mainstay, Steals Funds Set Aside for Hurting Restaurant Workers

The Lowest of the Low in a Pandemic

BY // 03.30.20

The bastard! I have no other way to describe the heathen that broke into River Oaks mainstay Frank’s Americana Grill early Sunday morning. Not only did he make off with an iPad, liquor, and the restaurant’s toolbox but also the money that owner Mike Shine had reserved to help employees during these difficult coronavirus times.

When so many are pulling together to help those in the hospitality industry who have lost their jobs and will be out of work for an indefinite period of time, this cruel robbery points to the lowest of humanity. (Frank’s surveillance video captures the robber decked out in what looks like a makeshift Hazmat suit.)

“This is an incredibly unfortunate circumstance. Times are challenging for small business owners and restaurants here in Houston, and sadly we were victims of this setback,” Shine tells PaperCity. “By sharing what happened to us, I hope it raises more awareness of the crimes people are capable of during this uncertain time.”

Yet, Shine, working diligently to keep his enterprise alive, continues to be open for business with curbside and carry-out at 3736 Westheimer, just east of the Weslayan intersection.  Fans can still get their fill of Frank’s popular gumbos, the NOLA BBQ shrimp and grits, the legendary chicken-fried steak and much more on the restaurant’s online comfort food menu.

Just as with so many of Houston’s popular restaurants, Frank’s is a family affair with Mike and his son, Chris, as partners in the front of the house and Mike’s youngest son, Colin, manning the kitchen as chef.

Across the city, restaurant customers are taking advantage of the takeout option for both food and drink that is now the new normal for “dining out” in Houston and throughout the country. It is an effort to stay afloat. But as one Midtown Houston restaurant owner lamented on Saturday, he could not last more than two weeks in the current situation.

Our hearts break for them all.

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