Food Truck Fire Puts San Diego Chef Out Of Business

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SAN DIEGO, CA – The chef and owner of Rollin Roots, a San Diego area food truck that received recognition for its vegan “sandos,” loaded fries and rice bowls, seeks help from the community after telling his office and Vehicle has been hit by multiple break-ins and vandalism in the past few weeks, culminating in an October 3rd fire – what he calls “arson” – that ultimately destroyed his truck and livelihood.

Avonte Hartsfield, who is Black, said he suspects the incidents were possible hate crimes. But with the support of the community, he now has a future restaurant project in mind that will empower other entrepreneurial chefs.

“In late September 2021, my business was a victim of vandalism and ultimately arson,” said Hartsfield. “My food truck (Rollin Roots) was broken into and destroyed several times.

“I had my strength during the ordeal [cords] cut up, my office and truck were broken into and items were stolen, a noose hung from the door to my office and finally on October 3rd my truck was completely burned to the ground, “he said on a GoFundMe page.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, firefighters reacted indefinitely to the Rollin Roots truck that caught fire in a parking lot on Amour Street in Kearny Mesa around 1 a.m. on Sunday, October 3, and the police are investigating one as well reported breach of business. “

The mobile vegan chef launched the online fundraiser, “Rebuilding After a Series of Hate Crimes and Fires,” which to date has hit $ 87,385 of its $ 100,000 goal.

“I am raising money for my company after a shocking series of hate crimes targeted me and my company,” said Hartfield. “The police are currently in the middle of an investigation, but no witnesses have come forward and it doesn’t look like much hope of holding anyone accountable.”

Hartsfield said he signed a lease for a stationary restaurant shortly before the fire. But the food truck destroyed by the fire shook that plan.

“I signed a lease on a new restaurant a few weeks ago because the food truck is doing so well, and I looked for the fire to get out of the lease,” he said. “Without the income from the food truck, I would not have been able to even think about opening the new restaurant.”

The Rollin Roots Truck has built a loyal following for its vegan diet and is now attracting supporters as Hartfield tries to rebuild, including a plug from Troy Johnson, a San Diego restaurant critic, food connoisseur and recurring celebrity / judge of the food Network.

“Avonte is a good person,” said Johnson on Facebook. “Worked his way out on his vegan Rollin Roots food truck. Has started to be successful. Apparently that got the attention of some pretty terrible people. They burned everything. Let’s get him back on his feet. “

Rollin Roots became a popular booking throughout San Diego County for events such as weddings, festivals, and business functions. In June, his company became one of five California organizations to receive a $ 25,000 grant from the California Restaurant Foundation and Guy Fieri’s Restaurant Reboot.

Hartfield said recovering from the range of crimes has proven challenging and the fundraiser will get his operation back on track as he runs a restaurant and new food truck. And he thanked the parishioners who donated to his fund.

“This has been extremely difficult for me as a small black entrepreneur with no access to normally available sources of finance,” he added. “This entire business I built from my savings, smart business decisions, and a few grants that were the only things I had to rely on to stay afloat, along with consistent support from our local community.”

Hartfield said donations will fuel his new venture, location and pizza concept.

“Something exciting about this new location is that it is used as an incubator kitchen,” he wrote. “This means that outside of the vegetarian pizza concept I plan to launch, I will be working with other small and minority-owned businesses to use my spade to open their own restaurant! It will have a full kitchen and dining room available while I sell pizzas of the small window as a walk-in place.

“The money will be used to open the site, pay a deposit for a new food truck and keep our restaurant afloat,” he continued. “I will take the time and focus necessary to make sure this is done correctly, and I will not thin these remedies because it will cost a lot. … Thank you for considering helping me. “

To contribute to GoFundMe, visit Rebuilding After Series of Hate Crimes and Fires here.

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