LANSING, Mich. — Capital City BBQ has been busy this past week, but unfortunately, the future of this community favorite is up in the air.
"It's my life. It's my love," said Lihn Lee, the owner of Capital City BBQ.
Lee came to the U.S. when she was just 17 years old. She describes the U.S. as her second home, and she always knew wanted cook like her grandmother who raised her back in Vietnam.
"Everything in here that I'm cooking, that I have my grandma with me, you know, because she inspired me. She taught me all that," Lee said.
So in 2015, Capital City BBQ was born in Lansing, and over the years, Lee has built a great relationship with the community. But, the last few years have been difficult following the pandemic and recent inflation.
"I emptied all my savings, also my children's savings, to keep the door open, and until now, I have nothing to empty then no money, no more money to do anything," Lee tearfully said.
With the hardships, she expressed that she can't help but think about her grandmother.
"If I fail, I'm not failing a community, I'm not failing my customer, I'm not failing my family and my children, but I do believe I'm failing her," she said.
Lee has always been transparent with her customers, and she let them know that she didn't know how much longer Capital City BBQ could stay afloat.
That's when Matt Gillett, co-owner of Saddleback BBQ, stepped in eager to help.
"We reached out, and it was for me a little bit nerve wracking because I have the utmost respect for restaurant owners, but I also know that you know we all do our things differently," Gillett said. "We came in, we had a little bit of a sit down and made a video, and we published the video. It got a pretty decent amount of traction."
Today, that video has 43,000 views, and the community response has been overwhelming.
"Last few days, the business doing running well, and it gave me hope" Lee said.
Lee continuously expressed how grateful she is to the community and that she's not giving up just yet.
"You know I'm a fighter. I'm stronger than the storm, I am," she said.
Since the Facebook post, Capital City BBQ has been getting a lot of customers, and Lee is hoping it stays that way. If you want support Capital City BBQ, you can stop in Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., or you can purchase a gift card from them in the store or over the phone.
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