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COVIctory - Shelbin Santos (by Emmai Ala



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“With the second vaccine, we are getting more business,” says Shelbin Santos. She’s the owner of Chicken Latino, a restaurant featuring Peruvian and Mexican favorites, recently relocated to Beechview from the Strip District. “People feel safer to go dining out, and we are really happy to be seeing our old timers...familiar faces from our old location who we haven’t seen in over a year!”

The COVIctory for Santos and Chicken Latino is not only surviving the downturn related to the pandemic, but finding a new home in a neighborhood that welcomed her business during the COVID-19 outbreak. High rents in the Strip District necessitated the move in early 2020, but no one could have predicted that the pandemic would hit at the exact moment her restaurant moved to a new building. Santos describes a tough year during which she changed her menu to accommodate more take-out and family style options. As the weather warms and the numbers of COVID cases decline, she’s beginning to see a return to dining, with a preference for seating on her new large wrap-around deck, and even orders for events like weddings later this summer. The one year anniversary of her new location is marked with gratitude and hope.

“The Beechview community has been very supportive and kind. When we first opened, people gave us handmade masks with chickens and tacos on them,” Santos says warmly. “They’ve sent us messages through Facebook about how happy they are that we chose to come to Beechview. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have survived the pandemic. This June makes it a whole entire year that the neighborhood has supported us. And that’s why we survived, because our neighborhood supported us.”

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