Valley couple takes leap of faith, opens restaurant amid coronavirus pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the restaurant industry, with some restaurants in the Valley closing permanently due to financial hardships during the pandemic.

However, there are a few taking their chances in opening up.

Owners optimistic for the future

The owners of a new restaurant called Kabob Grill n' go, located near 16th Street and Thomas, are certainly taking a leap a faith. For the couple, owning a restaurant has always been a dream.

"I love culture and I love to cook. It’s been a passion of mine," said Tony Chilingaryan.

Tony and Hasmik moved to Phoenix from California in January to start up the restaurant, which features Mediterranean/ Armenian take out. They immediately started the process of fixing up the place, but all of a sudden, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"I was in fear of telling my husband how are we going to work, how are we going to do that," said Hasmik.

"There are times when I couldn’t sleep at night," said Tony. "I was all the time thinking. It hit me because at the same time it’s a huge investment, and we invested our everything in this."

Although they had many concerns, Hasmik and Tony decided to take a leap of faith, and their restaurant opened in late May.

Restaurant are closing due to pandemic

Steve Chucri with the Arizona Restaurant Association says so far, 9% of restaurants in Arizona have permanently closed due to the pandemic.

Chucri also says the number of people opening up businesses now is limited.  

"It’s challenging if you’re opening up a new restaurant or concept, but Arizonans are great. I think to be slow and steady is the way to go," said Chucri.

Slow and steady is the approach Hasmik and Tony are taking, while taking on a positive outlook. 

"I don’t have any regrets because I have so much passion," said Tony. "I want to make the community happy, I want to make people happy.” 

During a time when Hasmik and Tony are trying to get themselves established, they are finding ways to give back by donating meals to nearby hospitals, and offer specials to healthcare workers.