Riverside Thai restaurant to close in May after fire, racist graffiti

Xuan Vietnamese-Thai Cuisine, a Riverside Thai restaurant, announced on its Facebook page late on Thursday night they plan to close at the end of May.

“We will be opening tomorrow at regular hours, thank you so much for all of your concerns also we wanted make an announcement that our restaurant will be permanently shut down by the end of May 2021. Hope we can see all of you and have a nice conversation before then,” the restaurant posted.

We will be opening tomorrow at regular hours, thank you so much for all of your concerns also we wanted make an...

Posted by Xuan Vietnamese-Thai Cuisine on Thursday, February 25, 2021

On Thursday, Riverside Fire was called to the building, which also houses International Foods, an Asian market, for a report of a fire. The building, located at 4770 Airway Road, was the target of racist graffiti and an attempted fire last month.

Riverside Fire Chief Daniel Stitzel said crews who responded around 5:35 a.m. Thursday found a small fire between the ceiling and the roof of the building. The fire caused damage to wood trusses and the insulation, he said.

The fire is under investigation. Stitzel said Riverside Police and the Riverside Fire Department are taking into consideration the previous incident. It is not clear yet if the two are connected.

In the January incident, the properties were damaged sometime between Jan. 25 night and Jan. 26, according to a Riverside Police report. Graffiti was found outside the building and there was a smell of gasoline inside. The report says a maintenance person discovered a fire in the range hood of the restaurant that damaged the hood.

The owners of the Thai restaurant, Noppadol Mangmeesub and his wife, Kanokwan Mangmeesub, said they were frightened after the January incident and worried that the perpetrators would come back.

“I’m fearful for my life and my wife that maybe something is going to happen again because I don’t know how many of them they have,” Mangmeesub said at the time. “Are they going to come back again, are they going to beat me when I take the trash out in the night? I don’t know.”

The police report from the January incident says the owner of International Foods, Ban Van Mai, showed police video of two men climbing a ladder on the side of the building at around 2 a.m. to get closer to a security camera and cover it with black spray paint.

In January, Thu Mai, the daughter of Ban Van Mai, said her family was targeted in racial slurs because they are Asian American. She said her family has complete faith in the police to do their jobs and that the people who vandalized the building would be brought to justice. She called the incident “domestic terrorism,” and noted the people who committed the crime were trying to cause her family bodily harm.

Mangmeesub organized a GoFundMe to repair the front door to his restaurant. In less than 24 hours, it has already raised more than $1,500, when the goal was about $1,000.

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