Fundraiser For Castle Rock Restaurant That Defied Public Health Orders Raises $20,000+ In 24 Hours

A screengrab from a Twitter video showing customers inside C&C Coffee and Kitchen in Castle Rock, Colo., on May 10, 2020

A fundraiser for C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen brought in more than $20,000 as of Tuesday evening after Gov. Jared Polis ordered the restaurant closed when the Castle Rock business defied statewide public health orders and served people in-house over the weekend.

Some Colorado business and restaurant owners have grown frustrated and impatient that they’re not allowed to reopen while big box stores like Walmart and Home Depot can. Some have said they’ll break statewide orders and open their doors for people to dine-in. Currently, restaurants are only allowed to be open for takeout. 

Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray said he’s concerned the town is not coming together in the way he’d like to see. 

“My concern is that we’re sitting on a powder keg, and people are going to start getting antsy and upset,” he said. “The country is already divided enough and I really felt like the town of Castle Rock had come together and now I’m worried.”

Steve Gilbertson of Larkspur started the GoFundMe on Monday for C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen. His relationship to the business owners is not clear. April Arrellano, owner of the restaurant, is listed as the beneficiary of the fund.

“We are doing two things: 1) supporting this brave family who pushed back and 2) poking the bear — Polis to let him know we are not hibernating,” the page states. “Help these brave people survive the one thing worse than coronavirus — Polis himself.”

The fund had raised $20,456 by Tuesday evening, surpassing the fund’s goal of $20,000. Almost 500 people donated and the money will be used to keep the owners afloat but also for a potential lawsuit, Gilbertson posted on Facebook. Some people had even taped money to the doors of C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen on Tuesday.

The restaurant owners received a $5,000 small business grant from the town of Castle Rock in April to help with the impact of COVID-19. More than 90 businesses in the Denver-area suburb received between $500 and $5,000 as part of the grant. 

Gray said Tuesday that the town council will not take the grant money back. 

“We can’t, and we’re not interested in rescinding it either,” he said. “We just want to give the best opportunity to as many businesses as we could. And as far as C&C goes, they shouldn’t have done what they did, and at the same time, we’re not going to penalize them anymore.”

Gray said he has a good perspective on both sides of the argument. His wife and mother are both immunocompromised, putting them more at risk for COVID-19. But he also owns two coffee shops and understands how business owners are feeling right now. One of his businesses has been closed and the other is “bleeding badly,” Gray said.

The big picture is the mayor’s primary focus. He said businesses reopening too early will hurt other businesses that are trying to do so safely. 

“It could delay things,” he said. “I get it. A lot of people out there think (the rules are) unconstitutional, and I also get there are a lot of people who want to follow the rules. At the same time, we need to figure things out. It’s been frustrating for everybody.”