"As the construction [on 290] has gotten closer and closer to us...it's affected my service because drivers get caught up in that traffic. People don't want to wait an hour and a half for delivery," Craig Boncler, owner and operator of Sicily Pizza & Pasta at 290 and Hollister, said.
Boncler said he is holding on to nine weeks' worth of pay checks to make sure his staff gets paid before he does.
"My policy has always been pay your employees first. Because if you don't have a staff, you don't have a business," he said.
But the decision to keep his business afloat eventually caught up with him personally.
"I know how long I can wait on the mortgage before they push it into default and I'm a couple days away from that," Boncler said.
On top of late mortgage payments, the single father has another issue to be concerned about. All three of his sons are diabetic and rely on insulin, a medical expense that adds up quickly.
Boncler took to Facebook with a call for help.
"The single most serious issue is that I can't even afford the copays to buy insulin for my kids right now, and I'm down to about a two-week supply," he wrote. "If you live anywhere within driving distance, please consider having a meal at my restaurant. And tell your friends. Tell everybody."
The response to Boncler's post has been overwhelming, surprising even him.
"By the time we had closed, it was over 4000 shares. I was like, 'That's viral!'" Boncler remarked.
With a line out the door, Thursday's lunch crowd was like no other -- with patrons coming from all over.
"I think it's standard issue H-town. I think that when someone reaches out for help, that...Houstonians are amazing people and I'm proud to be here," Lisa McLaren said as she waited in line.
While he appreciates those who come from far and wide, Boncler especially hopes those who live locally will continue to show their support as well.
"It pays for the kids' medicine. It pays for the school clothes when they're going to the same school as your kids. It's community, let's support each other," he added.
In addition to the boom in business, a YouCaring campaign has raised more than $8,000 to support Boncler and his sons.
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