Ruhel Islam, the owner of Gandhi Mahal — a restaurant specializing in organic North Indian cuisine — leased new property in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis at 3025 East Franklin Avenue and recently parked its food truck on-site while his former property is rebuilt, Eater reported.
"Planning to be up and serving our community and bring you peace by pleasing your palates from 31st and franklin by September, fingers crossed," the restaurant's Facebook page posted on July 31.
Gandhi Mahal has seen an outpouring of support after Islam's daughter wrote a Facebook post sharing her father's encouragement for protesters even after his restaurant was destroyed.
"Thank you to everyone for checking in. Sadly Gandhi Mahal has caught fire and has been damaged. ... Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover," Islam's daughter, Hafsa Islam, wrote on Facebook on May 29, four days after George Floyd died while in police custody, an event that set off protests in cities across America.
She added that she heard her father say on the phone, "'Let my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.'"
Since then, a GoFundMe page for the restaurant has received 2,800 donations totaling $122,743. Other organizations have also stepped in to help raise money for the restaurant.
The restaurant posted another statement in solidarity of protesters a month later on June 29, saying Gandhi Mahal is "dedicated to peace for every person," and "it is crucial in this moment to have dialogue to continue the healing process and create hearts and minds that are focused and finding a new way forward together."
Islam told the New York Times in a July 1 interview that growing up in a dictatorship in Bangledesh exposed him to police brutality at a young age, when he saw two of his classmates killed by officers.
"We grew up in a traumatic police state, so I am familiar with this type of situation," he told the Times.
On July 24, his daughter expressed frustration with the city's response to protests.
"Promises were made, but no action has yet to happen but that’s nothing new," she wrote in another Facebook post. "...My dad shared with me that a lot of representatives showed up after the burning of our building and our [neighboring] buildings, showing their 'support' but where are they now?"
Islam added that all the businesses affected by riots have to pay a "property tax before being given the permit that gives us the permission to demolish," which is an extra $15,000 or more "for each of the [businesses] that are trying to demolish what is left," on top of $100,000-$200,000 in demolition costs" to start rebuilding.
"It’s utterly disgusting that the state has all of us following these policies, given the situation of these [businesses]," Hafsa wrote. "We are coming together to rebuild and come back, we have come together in order to support each other through this very difficult project, but we will get through it."