Restauration Permanently Closes After a Long Battle

By: 
Katherine Clements

A year-long battle versus COVID-19 and five months facing the City of Long Beach came to an end Monday, April 12, for local restaurant, Restauration. Owner Dana Tanner stated that her restaurant has permanently closed after facing thousands of dollars in fines and 20 misdemeanor charges.

Tanner fought her way through mandated shutdowns, notices of closure, city citations, gas shut-offs, and court battles before she ultimately decided to close her business. This outcome could have likely been avoided for Tanner if she had abided by the suggested process for restaurants.

“I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life fighting for my business in Long Beach, so I just made the hard decision to close,” said Tanner, according to the Long Beach Post.

Tanner began her refusal to comply with coronavirus regulations in November 2020, when the second shutdown was mandated for restaurants.

In an interview with ABC7 News in January, Tanner told reporter Rachel Jordan, “I talked to my team members, and I said, ‘Are you comfortable with this? What do you want to do?’ and the overwhelming response was, ‘Yes, I want to do this,’” Tanner said.

“We’re here to make food for people. I’m here to keep people employed, and I’m here to pay my bills,” Tanner said. “If I can do that safely, and I know in my heart I can, like, I will.”

In 2018 Tanner had to close her restaurant due to a fire. She reopened in November 2019, only four months before having to shut down again due to the pandemic. During the reconstruction required after the fire, Tanner received support from her community and fellow small business neighbors. Local Long Beach restaurant, The Attic hired Tanner to cater their company Christmas party to help Restauration and assert an effort to show community and financial support.

“Why am I fighting so hard to provide something to an area that doesn’t want me there,” said Tanner to the Long Beach Post.

A community that has stood up for Tanner and Restauration now feels differently after watching the chain of events and the cause and effect of Tanner’s decisions.

“I’m so happy she is done in Long Beach,” said Long Beach local Hannah Gillies.

Gillies has been a member of the Long Beach restaurant industry for more than five years and was a frequent guest at Restauration.

Tanner has made no efforts to shy away from social media when it comes to her story. At the start of January of 2021, The City of Long Beach took action against Tanner and cut off her restaurant’s gas. As a reaction, Tanner spent upwards of $1200 at Home Depot on electric appliances to continue her operation and posted the decision on her Instagram feed. The post has since been removed due to the 24/hour story feature that Instagram has.

“I understand how small businesses are hurting but putting innocent people at risk of a gas explosion is not okay. She could have blown up her restaurant and staff,” said Gillies.

Tanner denies having any involvement with the tampering of the gas line, which led to a gas leak that customers discovered after complaining about a gas smell during dinner service. City officials were sent out to investigate and ensure that the restaurant’s gas was turned off but found that the gas line had been illegally turned back on. Tanner was charged with a misdemeanor for tampering with the gas line, and although she denied any involvement with it, she told a neighbor of the restaurant that she wished there was a way to get her gas turned back on.

“It feels like [Tanner] is acting out against her community, so it’s weak of her to say she isn’t wanted. We didn’t always feel that way,” said Gillies.

Since the decision was announced to close Restauration, Tanner has made her Instagram profile private but was very vocal on her stories (a feature on the social media platform that allows you to share a photo or video temporarily) about her negative feelings toward California’s Governor, the guidelines that had been mandated for her restaurant, and her feelings and opinions about the pandemic.

Tanner, who at one point requested that other businesses join her in defying the rules, says she has no regrets about staying open. Still, the battle against the city and the personal attacks on social media became too much for her.

“I just don’t want to cringe or have a panic attack every time a Public Works vehicle drives by my restaurant,” she said.

A deal between Tanner and The City of Long Beach was discussed. The city agreed to drop the administrative charge if Tanner closed her restaurant for six months, admit to her misbehaviors and pay all her fees and penalties. Tanner was not confident that her business would survive those stipulations.

The city also provided Tanner with education on the laws and encouraged her cooperation.

Tanner’s next court hearing was scheduled for April 22. As of April 13, Tanner is the only restaurant owner in Long Beach to have criminal charges against them for violating coronavirus health orders.

But after opening Restauration in July of 2014, Tanner’s goal to flourish in the growing food scene in Long Beach was brought to an end with no knowledge of what the future will bring her.

“I’m sad, but I don’t regret any of it,” said Tanner.

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