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Greensboro / Winston-Salem / High Point April 1-7, 2021

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OUT SIDE THE BOX triad-city-beat.com

Dragon City in High Point pivots to an all-vegetarian menu PAGE 12

The fight for the taco house PAGE 11

Homeless in W-S PAGE 9

Losing your license PAGE 6


EDITOR’S NOTEBOOK

‘That’s not funny’ — My life as an April Fool

April 1-7, 2021

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by Brian Clarey

ave you noticed? This week’s issue date is April 1, 2021. Do you know how rare it is for an issue to fall on April Fool’s

Day? I do, because it’s the sort of thing I used to track meticulously, the sort of thing I used to live for. Because I always believed that while a good altweekly newspaper should feel noble, like the public service that it is, sometimes it should also feel like a prank. My first was my best, because it happened so organically. It was back in 2005 or ’06, at another paper, of which I used to write about 40 percent a week. I was compiling the calendar, and I might have been a little drunk, so I created an event at Center City Park, which was brand new to downtown Greensboro: a free Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, to take place on April 1. I forgot all about it until we started getting phone calls at the office and frantic emails from people asking if this was true. We even got a drop-by from a guy who

told us his mother had planned to fly into town for the concert, and that we should reimburse for the plane tickets. Before the end of the day, the city had issued a press release and put up a sign informing visitors that there would be no Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert this week. I’ve had a dozen or so over the years — the one where Allen Joines was going to quit his job as mayor of Winston-Salem and move to Las Vegas, the one where prostitution became legalized in High Point, the one where the sea monster wanted to run for an open at-large seat on Greensboro City Council — but the Chili Peppers gag was by far the best. The secret: They wanted to believe. We talked about pulling a prank this year, even spitballed a couple ideas at the editorial meeting. But I know those days are done. These days, fake news is fake news, no matter the intent. And a news organization must safeguard its integrity above all else. I could never sign off on a fake story, April Fool’s Day or not. Our reputation is too important. We’ve all seen the dangers of feeding people lies they want to believe, regardless of veracity. And really, there’s nothing funny about that.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

It’s just another way to criminalize poverty. It just becomes a spiral. — Lauren Gebhard pg. 6 1451 S. Elm-Eugene St. Box 24, Greensboro, NC 27406 Office: 336.256.9320 BUSINESS PUBLISHER/EXECUTIVE EDITOR

STORE HOURS Monday-Thursday: 11am-7pm Saturday: 11am-7pm Friday: 11am-8pm Sunday: Closed DAVIDOFF LOUNGE HOURS Monday-Saturday: 4pm-11pm

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CONTRIBUTORS

Carolyn de Berry, Matt Jones, Jordan Howse, Jen Sorensen, Clay Jones

COVER

Dragon City in High Point switches to an allvegetarian menu after 20 years. Design by Rob Paquette.


(As of Wednesday, March 31)

Documented COVID-19 diagnoses NC 914,132 (+12,870) Forsyth 33,358 (+320) Guilford County

41,597 (+781)

COVID-19 deaths

NC

12,112 (+218)

Forsyth

361 (+4)

Guilford

570 (+12)

Documented recoveries NC

876,108 (+11,353)

Forsyth

31,701 (as of 3/20)

Guilford

39,502 (+455)

Current cases NC

25,912 (+1,299)

Forsyth

*no data*

Guilford

1,524 (+314)

Hospitalizations (right now) NC

955 (-26)

Forsyth

*no data*

Guilford

47 (-2)

Vaccinations NC First Dose

2,436,034 (+205,333)

Fully vaccinated

1,602,887 (15.3%, +206,891)

Forsyth First Dose

89,698 (+8,504)

Fully vaccinated

63,139 (16.5%, +6,999)

Guilford First dose

143,301 (+17,168)

Fully vaccinated

75,084 (14.0%, +9,301)

April 1-7, 2021

Coronavirus in the Triad:

Second and Green owners say benefit for Proud Boy is ‘fake’ by Sayaka Matsuoka

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n the morning of March 22, a and local food trucks would also be in claim that a local Winston-Saattendance, naming Burger Supreme as an lem bar would host a benefit for example. a recently-arrested local Proud JP Pichardo, the owner and operator of Boy quickly went viral on Reddit. The post, the Burger Supreme food truck, said that submitted on the Winston-Salem subredhe was never contacted by anyone to book dit by user winstonsalems, stated that on the event on Friday. March 26, a benefit for Charles Donohoe “It’s crazy to me that someone said I would be taking place at Second and would go,” Pichardo said. “I haven’t even Green Tavern in downtown Winston-Salem spoken to anybody. I’m usually at Hoots on from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays from six to nine. No one contacted Just past 1 p.m., a user for the Second me and we would definitely decline.” and Green Tavern’s Facebook page posted John Cain said in a phone call with a statement that called the event “false.” Triad City Beat that they are working to “We want to take this opportunity track down who posted the initial thread to dispute false information being dison Reddit. Cain did not answer questions seminated about about any connecour business and our tions Donohoe has to family personally,” Second and Green or Most users on Reddit the statement reads. respond to another “At no time was there claim by the Redditor are anonymous, any discussion, or that the establishconsideration, for ment sold shirts to making their real hosting any form of cover Donohoe’s fundraising activity/ legal fees. identities hard to event for anyone’s Most users on legal defense or Reddit are anonytrace. Shortly after personal benefit. We mous, making their the controversy, user do not support the real identities hard Proud Boys, or any to trace. In the past winstonsalems other group involved couple of months, in the horrific events winstonsalems has deleted their account that occurred at our posted on a few Nation’s Capital on Winston-Salemon Reddit. January 6th. Second themed subreddits, & Green Tavern mostly disparaging and it’s [sic] patrons Gov. Roy Cooper’s represent a melting pot that mirrors the regulations of bars during the pandemic as amazing diversity of our great city. We will well as posting negative comments about remain steadfast in fostering an inclusive local bar owners in general. environment for everyone to fellowship “I have low expectations for most of together. We denounce all acts of aggresthese bars to actually do a test wether [sic] sion, supremacy, misogyny, and racism. We or not to see if the person is already intoxiwelcome all people that share our spirit cated before they sell and I’m sure there of love to visit our establishment. We apwill be no type of regulation in order for preciate the support of our community to this type of thing,” they wrote in response combat this false information that is being to an article about to-go mixed drinks bepromoted by anonymous individuals via ing allowed by Gov. Cooper a few months social media.” ago. Charles Donohoe was arrested in On the same post about mixed drinks Kernersville on March 17 for his involvebeing allowed, the user stated, “These ment in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. He was business owners only see money and do charged with conspiring to interfere with not understand the detriment to the comlaw enforcement officers at the Capitol munity they produce while continue to and with obstructing the certification of operate within.” the presidential election. Shortly after the controversy, user The thread by winstonsalems that initiwinstonsalems deleted their account on ated the controversy stated that live music Reddit.

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April 1-7, 2021

CITY LIFE April 1-6 by Michaela Ratliff

THURSDAY April 1

Soul Revival @ High Point Yoga School (HP) 6 p.m.

News

Up Front

Luminaries Series @ A/perture Cinema (W-S) Online

Opinion

A/perture Cinema debuts its Luminaries series, dedicated to filmmakers and industry professionals who cherish pushing boundaries and originality in their work. This year, the cinema will screen films by Ramin Bahrani, beginning with Life Itself, a documentary about film critic Roger Ebert, featuring interviews with Bahrani. For more information, visit A/perture’s website. Pop-Up Produce Pantry @ 733 N Research Pkwy (W-S) 8:45 a.m. Stop by High Point Yoga School for a yoga session designed to revive your soul. Spots are limited due to COVID restrictions, so reserve your space in advance on HPYS’s website.

SATURDAY April 3

Shot in the Triad

Culture

Rabies Clinic @ Lake Brandt Marina (GSO) 9 a.m.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC is hosting pop-up produce pantries on various dates to help feed families in need. COVID-19 safety guidelines and rules will be enforced. For more info, visit the event page on Facebook.

FRIDAY April 2

Puzzles

Pearanormal and Slushies @ Bull City Ciderworks (GSO)

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Bull City Ciderworks is excited to serve its pearanormal cider, made with apples, pears and UFO dust. Grab dinner from Taco Bros food truck.

Guilford County Animal Services in partnership with Greensboro Parks and Rec are hosting a rabies clinic. Protect your pet with a 1-year rabies vaccine for just $10. Call 336.641.3401 to schedule an appointment.


April 1-7, 2021

Springtime Sunshine Nature Crafts @ Piedmont Environmental Center (HP) 10 a.m.

SUNDAY April 4

Dr. Maya Angelou Day of Reading @ Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (Online) Up Front News

During a hike with a PEC naturalist, children will make crafts that feature the sun, and learn how it contributes to life on Earth. This event is for children age 5-12. Call the PEC at 336.833.8531 for more information. Abstracted Views @ Marshall’s Little Art Gallery (GSO) 2 p.m. Opinion Culture

In celebration of WS native Dr. Maya Angelou’s birthday, the second annual Day of Reading is centered around her poem “Continue.” Finds events on social media, including a reading of the poem “Continue” by Oprah Winfrey, by using the hashtag #DRAngelouGift. Philly D.A. @ RiverRun International Film Festival (W-S) 7 p.m.

Shot in the Triad

TUESDAY April 6

Puzzles

Abstracted Views is an exhibit highlighting the way several local NC artists, like Jack Stone and Nina Green, see the world through fine art and gifts of all mediums. For more info, visit the event page on Facebook.

RiverRun, PBS North Carolina and the State Library NC invite you to a virtual screening and discussion of Philly D.A., the story of attorney Larry Krasner’s work in the criminal justice system and his desire to change it. Register in advance on Eventbrite or email Karen Nowak at knowak@pbsnc.org.

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Thousands in the Triad have lost their driver’s licenses due to unpaid fines

by Sayaka Matsuoka

Puzzles

Shot in the Triad

Culture

Opinion

News

Up Front

April 1-7, 2021

NEWS

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eventy-six percent of Americans drive alone to work every day, according to data from the 2016 American Community Survey. Others use their cars to pick up their kids from school or run errands. None of this is possible without a driver’s license, and in Guilford and Forsyth counties, thousands of individuals — many of them Black — have had their licenses suspended because of an inability to pay outstanding fines. “If I had never gotten my license, I never would have been able to become a full-time city employee,” said Dana Daughtry, an employee with the city of Greensboro. “Most employers require a license now. If you are not able to get in a position where you are able to pay on your fines and work at a job at the same time, that would be incredibly hard.” In August 2014, Daughtry was released from prison after serving for a habitual felon charge. He had taken re-entry and self-development classes inside, and decided that when he got out he would turn his life around. He started working for the city as a yard-waste employee then found out about an opportunity to become a full-time employee. However, outstanding fines from traffic tickets he had gotten in Virginia kept him from getting his license back, which was a requirement for the job. “I think that starting out, the original fines were for $600, but by the time I was able to start paying them, I wound up paying about $2,600,” said Daughtry,

who is Black. He signed up for a payment plan through the counties in Virginia where he owed the fines and was able to get his license reinstated so long as he kept paying off his debt. But that’s not how it works in North Carolina. Under current North Carolina law, the DMV is required to revoke or suspend a driver’s license for failure to pay a traffic fine, penalty or court costs and the driving privilege remains suspended until the driver resolves their failure to comply, or FTC status. The law also includes a provision that allows defendants to restore their licenses if they demonstrate to the court that their failure to pay the fines “was not willful” and that they are “making a good faith effort to pay,” but most of the time, neither the courts nor the DMV lets defendants know about this right, according to prior reporting by TCB. Data analyzed by researchers at Duke University shows Guilford County has the most instances of failure-to-comply cases in the state, resulting from unpaid fees and fines from criminal cases. These FTCs have led Guilford County to rank second amongst counties with the most driver’s license suspensions in the state while Forsyth County ranks fourth. According to the 2020 data from Duke, Guilford County has 74,441 actively suspended drivers — about 17.6 percent of the population. Forsyth County has 56,861 or 19 percent of the population. The two largest counties in

the state — Wake County and Mecklenburg County with 1.1 million people each — have much smaller suspension rates. Wake County has 107,313 suspension or 10.7 percent of their population, while Mecklenburg has 36,919 or just 4.4 percent of their population. The data also shows that of the 1.3 million people who have had their driver’s licenses suspended in the state, 66 percent are for failure to appear in court while 21 percent are for failing to pay traffic fines or court fees. In North Carolina, people have 40 days to pay fines and court costs from the time a district court judge finds them guilty of traffic violations. If they aren’t able to pay, the courts send notifications to the DMV, letting the drivers know that their license will be revoked in the next 60 days.

Why disparities can exist between counties

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art of the reason for the disparity between counties could be attributed to how each county’s district attorney’s office handles FTCs in each county. During a community call hosted by Greensboro’s human rights commission on March 24, Quisha Mallette, a staff attorney with the NC Justice Center, mentioned how in Durham, a mass relief program exists to help restore licenses. Called the Durham Expunction and Restoration Program, the initiative is a collaborative

effort between the city and the district attorney’s office that identifies individuals who qualify for relief. As of March 2019, the program had dismissed more than 70,000 cases — mostly for traffic charges tied to license suspensions — waived more than $200,000 in unpaid traffic fines and court fees which were on average 13-years-old for more than 1,200 people according to Indy Week. In Guilford County, District Court Judge Tonia Cutchin explained during the community call that elected officials had been working on a driver’s license restoration program last year before the pandemic hit. “We had set up a plan to add a procedure to eliminate 450 individual court costs and fines at a time, but then unfortunately we were impacted by the pandemic,” Cutchin said on the call. However, in the last three weeks, she said that the courts have “ramped up” their efforts again and have conducted two more mass eliminations in Greensboro and High Point, with more restorations on the court calendars. In the meantime, as the courts get back to being open regularly, Cutchin asked for patience and understanding. “Understand that this is a process,” she said. “These documents have to be initiated and sent through the court process, sent to Raleigh and the DMV and so it takes a little bit more time to make sure those monies are eliminated…. The elected officials here in Guilford County are addressing it; we are concerned


then you know...

•Who is running for city council •Where to find secret tacos

Opinion

•Why the streetlights are purple

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Triad City Beat — If you know, you know Culture Shot in the Triad

To get in front of the best readers in the Triad, contact Chris or Drew.

chris@triad-city-beat.com drew@triad-city-beat.com

Puzzles

he issue of driver’s license suspensions is further complicated when looking at demographic and socioeconomic data. According to the research by those at Duke University, criminal debt disproportionately impacts Black and lower-income people in North Carolina. Of the approximately 650,000 people with current FTCs, close to half are Black, despite the fact that the Black population only makes up about 22 percent of the state, according to 2019 Census data. The Duke report also states that “for the white population, we see evidence that the number of white individuals in poverty more strongly predicts FTC suspensions than white individuals above the poverty line.” Daughtry, who was living with this mother when he got out of prison, was able to pay off his fees with his part-time job. He said that he was lucky, and understands that it’s not feasible for many who end up getting fined through traffic tickets or court costs. “It’s like you have this hanging over your head,” Daughtry said. “Imagine paying rent and getting a job and having to get a ride there and pay fines and court costs and stuff. People wouldn’t be able to get ahead as fast as I was able to.” In North Carolina, traffic fines and court costs can add up quickly. A standard traffic infraction costs $147.50 while additional amounts like a $10 fee for every motor vehicle offense and a $50 fee for improper equipment can be added. Failure to appear to court costs $200 and failure to comply is another $50. “It’s just another way to criminalize poverty,” said Lauren Gebhard, an assistant public defender who works in Guilford County. “It just becomes a spiral.”

If you read

Up Front

How race and class affect the issue

Mallette, with the NC Justice Center, said that in their research they found that if a person doesn’t pay fines owed within a year, they will most likely never be able to pay for those fines. “That means that their license can remain indefinitely suspended for years,” Mallette said. The Duke data shows that of the 1.8 million FTCs given from the 1980s to Jan. 25, 2021 in North Carolina, about a third are uncured or unpaid. About 20 percent were able to pay within the 30-120-day span and another 14 percent were able to pay within one to five years. In order to change these systems, Gehard said she wants to see more compassion from judges and district attorneys. “I think that in general it would be better if people were more aware and more empathetic about what not having their license can mean for people,” Gebhard said. “People take for granted how important it is to be able to legally get in your car and go, especially during COVID. There’s not a lot of public transportation options and I think just being a little bit more empathetic to that is important…. I think that would really help.” According to Free to Drive, a coalition that focuses on ending debt-based license suspensions, there is no active legislation in North Carolina aimed at changing the laws as they currently stand. In July 2020, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced the Driving for Opportunity Act which would repeal the federal mandate to suspend driver’s licenses for certain non-driving-related offenses and would give grants to states that repeal laws that suspend driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees. In December, the bill was referred to the committee on the judiciary in addition to the committee on transportation and infrastructure. Meanwhile, states such as Michigan, Illinois and Utah enacted legislative reforms to alleviate the problem this year. Daughtry said he wants to see the same in his state. “It just shows that North Carolina is not friendly to giving people second chances,” he said.

April 1-7, 2021

about it.” Triad City Beat was not able to reach a spokesperson for the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office for comment on whether they are conducting mass relief for fines and fees. During the call, Cutchin said she understands the importance of having a car for economic sustainability. “A person needs a driver’s license, a livable wage in order to make sure they have a stable household and can maintain employment here in Guilford County,” she said.

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April 1-7, 2021 Puzzles

Shot in the Triad

Culture

Opinion

News

Up Front

Residents continue to struggle as tent cities in W-S are removed

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JERRY COOPER Several tents, blankets and pieces of furniture remain at the tent city on Akron Drive after its shutdown by Winston-Salem police officers on March 18. This comes after the permanent removal of the tent city on Waterworks Road earlier this month. The couple pictured above is still living at the tent city on Akron Drive. “It was disheartening,” said housing activist Arnita Miles. “There was no warning.” In 2020, 504 persons were counted in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area, an annual count required by the US Dept. of Housing & Urban Development. As previously reported by Triad City Beat, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in homelessness due to executive orders that banned gatherings of more than 50 people, causing shelters to limit intake, which ultimately lead to the formation of more tent cities in the Triad. — Michaela Ratliff


OPINION In Raleigh, pitching a reversal of policy

News Opinion

identity” — by social workers, counselors, therapists psychologists and psychiatrists. And it stipulates that no state money can be used for conversion therapy, including insurance coverage, or go to any agencies that perform it. It was one of a slew of bills aimed at righting the historic wrongs set by HB2: HB451 fully repeals the remnants of HB2 that survived the compromise. HB450, “An Act to Protect All North Carolinians Against Discrimination in All Walks of Life,” adds religion, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation and gender identity to the “protected status” list of things subject to unlawful discrimination. HB449 eliminates the “panic defense,” which defendants can currently use to justify violence against LGBTQ+ North Carolinians. Taken together, these bills represent the biggest move towards equality our state has taken in years, an official rejection of the warped values that inspired HB2, and some rectification of the shame and financial pain it brought up us all. Remember, these bills have a ways to go before being enacted into law. But with them lies the conscience of our state.

Up Front

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Culture

ow far we’ve come since HB2, the 2016 “Bathroom Bill” signed into law by then-Gov. Pat McCrory based on the premise that grown men want to hang out in the ladies’ room while our wives and daughters urinate. The bill, which basically outlawed genderneutral bathrooms, was clunky, unenforceable and outright hostile to LGBTQ+ North Carolinians, trans folks in particular. Which was, of course, the whole point. Before it was partially repealed almost exactly a year later, it cost us sports tournaments, big concerts, film and television shoots and untold millions in lost tourist dollars. It turned off prospective college students and companies considering relocating here — as well as homegrown businesses that began to entertain recruitment offers from other states. And it made our fine state seem like it was run by a bunch of homophobic rubes, so out of touch with American life that they thought they could legislate gender. On Wednesday, Guilford Rep. Pricey Harrison became one of the primary sponsors of HB452, known in the Senate as SB392: the Mental Health Protection Act, which states that “contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, disorder, or illness….” It outlaws conversion therapy — “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender

April 1-7, 2021

EDITORIAL

Shot in the Triad Puzzles

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April 1-7, 2021 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles

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Nik Snacks As taco house faces closure, a fundraiser attempts to continue their dream

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eydi Lopez and her mother are emotional following the news that they have to shut down, El Sabor Tabasqueno, their taco enterprise they started in their home. “Somebody from the city came to the house,” says Lopez. by Nikki Miller-Ka “They spoke to my brother, because I was at work. They were like, ‘Just finish up for today.’” The family decided to continue selling their wildly popular birria tacos and enchilados dulces through last Sunday. This small business in started January with a simple post on Lopez’s Snapchat letting her network know she was selling quesabirria-style tacos, crispy griddled tacos dipped in and served with a concentrated consommé for dipping. The idea started after Lopez watched tons of videos on Tik Tok and Facebook describing how to make the popular food. The first day they took 50 orders. Eventually, El Sabor was filling 300 to 400 orders a day, Thursdays through Sundays. As word got out about the tacos, customers requested vegetarian and non-beef options, candy and refrescas such as horchata and agua de Jamaica, a hibiscus-based beverage. The quality of the offerings matched and exceeded plates from bricks-and-mortar restaurants. Soon, photos of the well-packed, colorful plates of tacos, quesadillas and pizza circulated on social media, encouraging customers from all over the Triad to drive to the Lopez’s Southside home for a taste. Last week, Triad City Beat published a story about NIKKI MILLER-KA the taco house that was met with enthusiasm from the These birria tacos caused a sensation in Winston-Salem last week. Now they need help to start a restaurant. family. Since then, dozens of cars have lined the narrow streets and intersections near the house, making it difattached. Popular fine dining restaurant Machete in gins. Lopez’s three brothers help take orders, prep the ficult for neighbors to turn a blind eye and for customGreensboro operated as a private supper club for two Styrofoam containers and expedite the food. ers to be able to order. According to Lopez, a neighbor years before opening up in the LoFi neighborhood in the Lopez takes on the task of chopping onions, cilantro called Winston-Salem’s City Link Line to report the nuiformer Crafted, Art of Street Food space. and radish, and begins on the salsa and guacamole, sance. Then on March 26, a city official and an inspector Like many families during the pandemic, the Lopez which accompanies the birria-style pizza. In the evevisited the home to tell them they had to shut down family was hit hard. Both of Lopez’s parents lost their ning, the chiles for the broth and the birria beef are operations but left no written citation or business card jobs. They almost lost their house. They were behind on boiled and cooled down so all her father has to do is for follow-up information. water and electricity bills; everything seemed to be fallprepare it. According to an incident report associated with the ing apart. Leydi was working double shifts seven days “We take turns on the grill,” Lopez said. “But none of home’s address, a 311 call was made about their food a week as the sole breadwinner of the household. They us get to eat until the end of the day.” business for “violation of city/county ordinance.” The had to do something. Lopez’s mother had a little money When news of the shutdown of the taqueria became bottom of the report states that the case is “inactive.” saved, so one weekend they purpublic knowledge, Liz Reymundo, a childhood friend of North Carolina does not have chased ingredients and started Lopez, started a GoFundMe for the family. She took the cottage food laws, which allow a their at-home business. opportunity to started an online fundraiser because she person to legally bake and prepare Find El Sabor Tabasqueño on “We love cooking; we always wants to help her friend accomplish her dreams. certain foods in their home kitchcook together,” Lopez says. “I “She started this business to help her family through GoFundMe. ens and sell them on a small scale, love it, my brother loves it, my hard times,” says Reymundo. “Just like me, she’s the but there are individuals operating dad loves it, my mom loves it. firstborn from an immigrant family. I’ve seen her helpundocumented food enterprises It’s something we’re passionate ing her mother from a small thing like translating docuout of their homes under the radar about.” ments to helping to pay the bills. She prides herself on and even more operating as private supper clubs. These Both women’s faces light up when the conversation putting her family first and above everything else.” supper clubs have public social-media accounts, followsteers toward the work they put in to ensure quality Lopez says she’s wanted to open a food truck or a ings and websites too. The only difference? The menus food gets delivered to customers. restaurant for a long time. are not published with prices. Any monetary connecThe entire family helps out. Her father wakes up at 5 ”We give what we would like to have,” says Lopez. tion to the food being served uses coded language a.m., careful to not disturb the other family members, such as “suggested donations” with a dollar amount cooks and cools the beef down before the real prep be-


by Sayaka Matsuoka

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Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles

can’t remember the last time I had an egg roll. The problem is, I’ve been on a pretty strict pescatarian diet — I only eat fish and veggies — for about two years now. And even before then, I wasn’t cooking poultry or pork or beef at home; I would only order it if I was dining out. Therein lies the problem. Most egg rolls — you know the ones with the thick, bubbly wrap on the outside with the sauteed veggies on the inside — usually have pork in them too. So, I hadn’t had a proper egg roll in years…until the other day. Walking into Dragon City in High Point, you might think they’re about to close. Tables have been pushed to the sides of the room, bundles of paper towels sit in corners and wild looking plants hang from the ceiling. Above the plastic-shielded counter hangs a familiar looking menu with all of the classic Chinese takeout favorites: shrimp chow mein, beef with vegetables, barbecue spare ribs — all items featuring some sort of meat product. But the images are faded, their colors draining out of the rectangles that hold the now, notso-appetizing looking plates. The two decades that have passed within the walls have taken a toll on them. But a recent change is breathing new life into this High Point standby. In November, Dragon City switched to an all-vegetarian and vegan menu. You read that right. There’s a 100-percent plant-based Chinese restaurant in the Triad — not New York, not San Francisco, Cindy Wang (left) and her mother Xue Lam are the only two employees at the shop right now because business SAYAKA MATSUOKA has been slow. but in High Point. “My mom is Buddhist so she saw cororestaurant of 20 years closed its doors in March and didn’t the whole thing in a plastic container. Lunch is served. navirus as a result of people’s greed,” reopen until November. For about eight months, the family — Lam says that they’ve been getting their alternative meats explains Cindy Wang, who translates for led by Lam’s instinct — workshopped new recipes and looked from a company called Vege Star, a plant-based company out her mom, Xue Lam. “We wanted to cut for alternative meat suppliers to create a brand-new menu. of Taiwan. She’s tried using Beyond Meat for some of their down on how much Now, everything you order at Dragon City menu items like their wontons but said they ended up tasting meat we consume.” is plant-based. The broth? Switched from “artificial.” Lam, who immichicken to vegetable. The meat? Almost One of the trickiest things to get right was the sesame grated to the United Visit Dragon City at 274 all soy-based. The batter? Now made of “chicken,” says Wang. States from the FujiEastchester Drive #128 in different flours and wheat gluten instead “It took time to get it in the right shape,” she says. “We an Province in China of egg. had to switch to an eggless batter and now we scoop it with a High Point. Find their menu in 1996, has been a Large bags of frozen “meat” emerge spoon and throw it in the fryer.” at dragonhighpoint.com or Buddhist for more from the freezer as Lam starts making one Wang, who’s 23, helps out at the front counter of the shop than a decade and a call 336-869-2966. of the restaurant’s most-popular dishes: while her mom cooks in the back. They’re essentially the only vegetarian for eight kung pao chicken. The individual pieces two employees in the restaurant because since they reopened years. Lam explains are made from soy and are already prein November, business has been incredibly slow. Wang says that a medical scare seasoned, making Lam’s job a bit easier. She tosses a handful that a lot of their old customers weren’t that excited about involving her husband drew her to value in the steaming wok and adds her own concoction of sauces to the idea of an all-vegetarian menu. life in a more tangible way. taste. Nearby, she steams a medley of vegetables while mak“From November to February we were lucky to get one or “Save a life, help a life,” she says. ing fried rice in a separate wok. The whole process takes just a two customers a day,” Wang admits. “Now we’re getting a few Last year, when the pandemic hit, the few minutes. She adds a dash of peanuts to the mix and plates more people than before.”

April 1-7, 2021

CULTURE After 20 years, Dragon City switches to an all-vegetarian menu

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April 1-7, 2021 Up Front News

SAYAKA MATSUOKA

The kung pao chicken is made from pre-seasoned soy pieces that are tossed in a house-made sauce with a vegetable medley and peanuts.

SAYAKA MATSUOKA

Puzzles

Shot in the Triad

Culture

Opinion

Xue Lam has been the main cook at the restaurant for more than two decades.

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Wang reveals that a few weeks ago, an individual offered to buy their shop and she responded with a counteroffer. “If they accept, we’ll probably sell,” Wang says. It was never their dream to come here and open a restaurant, Wang says of her parents. “It’s just doing what you can with what you have,” she says. “I don’t want to do this forever. I just graduated, but I can’t just leave my family stranded like this.” Wang says she’s been helping out in the restaurant since she was about nine or 10 years old. She recently graduated from college in Asheville but says she worried about her parents. A few weeks ago, the shop was broken into but nothing of value was taken. She’s concerned about the rise in Asian hate crimes but says she’s not surprised

by it. “There’s been an undercurrent of hate talk,” Wang says. “And then with the Capitol riots and the talk about coronavirus, it doesn’t surprise me.” Her mother, who is religious, says she believes that if you are good, that you won’t be harmed. That karma will work in your favor. And that’s kind of the reasoning she used to change their menu, too. “I want more people to try vegetarian food to help the environment,” Lam says. “I want people to eat less animals and to gain empathy and make the world better.” And even if it drives their business into the ground, Lam says she has no regrets. “Even if we don’t succeed, it’s the first time that I feel at peace,” she says. “The hardest part is waiting.”


Price Park Road, Greensboro

April 1-7, 2021

SHOT IN THE TRIAD

Up Front News Opinion Culture CAROLYN DE BERRY

Shot in the Triad

Spring morning at Price Park.

Puzzles

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April 1-7, 2021 Up Front News Opinion Culture Shot in the Triad Puzzles

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CROSSWORD ‘Sandwiched’—it’s a matter of taste. SUDOKU

Across

by Matt Jones

1 Bowling locale 6 Fixes typos 11 Supporter 14 Grasp 15 When to see la luna 16 “Where’s the ___?” 17 It’s got a point to it 19 “Much ___ About Nothing” 20 Oratorio part 21 Sis’s counterpart 22 Frequently 24 “Owner of a Lonely Heart” rock band 25 Astronaut Jemison 26 Not qualified 28 Island country north of New Zealand 33 Singer LaMontagne 34 35mm camera choice © 2021 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) 35 “The Parent ___” 36 “Downton ___” 39 “Harper Valley ___” (1968 hit) 40 “Byeeee” 41 “___ all a favor ...” 42 1.5-volt battery size 43 Actor Barinholtz 44 His Secret Service code name is “Celtic” 49 Skulk about 50 “Uh-uh” 51 “Feels great!” 53 Part of PSL 55 “Oh, nasty!” Answers from last issue 56 “Tickle Me” doll 57 Brooding music genre 26 John Wooden’s team 58 Tequila brand since 1886 whose name means 27 Neither go-with “Old Town” 29 Roll call response 62 Tiny bite 30 “From hell’s heart, ___ at thee” 63 First name in cosmetics (“Moby-Dick” quote) 64 Let go 31 Director Duplass 65 6-point football scores 32 Bitter drink 66 Beloved ones 36 Modifying wd. 67 Paintball mementos 37 Bleachers sound 38 Places to be let on Down 39 Central or Hyde, e.g. 40 Twist out of shape 1 Chemistry test 42 “The Living Daylights” singers 2 “The Elements” satirist Tom 43 “Famous Potatoes” state 3 Be a go-between 45 Looked slyly 4 Cornell who founded Cornell University 46 English, in Spanish 5 “Uh-huh” 47 White of “Family Matters” 6 Pharmaceutical for rheumatoid arthritis 48 “Roger ___” (1960s cult cartoon hero) 7 Martial arts facility 52 They’re raised by mechanics 8 It may be crushed 53 Time to give up? 9 Active chemical in cannabis 54 Included with 10 Light, as fireworks 55 Lyft competitor 11 Reason to pull over 56 County Kerry’s isle 12 Helper 59 Manipulate 13 Bar sign light 60 Pilot’s calculation 18 1994 Siouxsie and the Banshees single 61 Group for ex-GIs 23 Highest number on a billiard ball 25 ___ Thai (martial art)

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TCB April 1, 2021 — Oustide the Box  

Chinese restaurant goes vegan, taking licenses from the poor, no April Fool, the taco family strikes back and more.

TCB April 1, 2021 — Oustide the Box  

Chinese restaurant goes vegan, taking licenses from the poor, no April Fool, the taco family strikes back and more.

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