The Umbrella Fellas food cart suffered major setbacks during the COVID pandemic, but Houston stepped up

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A Houston business owner has dealt with an accident and theft on top of a global pandemic.

It was one major setback after another for Umbrella Fellas, which specializes in hot dogs, burgers and more.

On Thursday night, they launched a brand new food cart and had many customers at a distillery pledging 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 it’s like primo food to me.”

Eleazar Perez, the founder of Umbrella Fellas, was able to reignite the grill thanks to a community of donors.

It comes after someone broke into his car and stole it last week.

“Basically I had my laptop, my iPad, work documents and stuff like that,” he said. “You know, of course, I put my money into it.”

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

“We’ve been closed,” Perez said. “Unfortunately a lot of the bars and clubs we set up closed down so we couldn’t settle anywhere.”

Before that, an accident in 2019 also put an end to his dreams.

“A car ran into my food cart and ran into 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 come online and in person from people who love food and have what it takes to help.

“I worked for an oil and gas company for 30 years. I can pay the electricity bill every month,” said a supporter. “So I try to give to those little guys who don’t have that kind of cushion.”

Perez said he was lucky and grateful for the city’s support.

“Having the community behind us feels like we haven’t missed a step,” he said. “We know we’re going to get over this and keep doing what we’re doing and being a little smarter about it.”

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