SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — On a recent Tuesday just after 10 a.m., the staff at Kearny Mesa’s Tahini restaurant was busy prepping for the lunch rush for its chicken and steak shawarma.
“It pays homage to our culture and the places that our families come from, while still doing so in a manner that is easily visited by the American public,” said restaurant co-founder Osama Shabaik.
These days, Shabaik is focused on opening a coffee shop next door and a new location on the UC San Diego campus later this year.
But in March 2020, he wasn’t thinking about expanding. Instead, survival. At the time, hundreds of thousands of San Diego workers lost their jobs seemingly overnight after Coronavirus stay-at-home orders kicked in.
“We were definitely shocked the way everyone else was when lockdowns went into place,” Shabaik said. “We saw sales really plummet overnight.”
The coronavirus outbreak devastated what was then a healthy San Diego economy….