This Houston food cart got slammed with some major setbacks, but then Houston stepped up

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Friday, July 23, 2021
How this struggling Houston food cart was saved by its community
The owner of Umbrella Fellas has had to deal with a bizarre crash and a robbery all on top of a pandemic, but then Houston stepped in.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston business owner has had to deal with a crash and a robbery on top of a global pandemic.

It's been one significant setback after another for Umbrella Fellas, which specializes in hot dogs, burgers and more.

On Thursday night, they debuted a brand new food cart and had plenty of customers at a distillery that pledged to match donations to help.

"It's really good," said Paula Dalton, a satisfied customer. "The fries are really crispy, the way I like them, so this is like primo food for me."

Eleazar Perez, the founder of Umbrella Fellas, was able to fire up the grill again thanks to a giving community.

This comes after someone broke into his car and robbed him last week.

"Basically, I had my laptop, my iPad, some business documents, and stuff like that," he said. "You know, of course, I got my money in there."

He said the thieves got away with thousands of dollars he was going to use to expand his business, which barely survived pandemic closures.

"We got shut down," said Perez. "Unfortunately, a lot of the bars and clubs we set up at shut down. So, we couldn't set up anywhere."

Before that, a crash in 2019 also put a dent in his dreams.

"A car actually ran into my food cart and hit me, and we went through a whole situation that lasted about a year and a half," he recalled.

Despite the setbacks, Perez isn't giving up.

Donations are coming in online and in person from people who love the food and have what it takes to help.

"I worked for an oil and gas company for 30 years. I can pay the electric bill every month," said one supporter. "So, I try to give out to these little guys that don't have that kind of a cushion."

Perez said he's fortunate and grateful for the city's support.

"Having the community behind us, it's like we haven't missed a step," he said. "We know we're going to overcome this and continue to do what we do and be a little bit smarter about it."