Updated April 7 with information from the Garland Police Department.
The owners of a small Vietnamese restaurant in Garland found the front doors of their business smashed early Saturday morning.
Bryan Vu, whose parents own and run Banh Cuon Thang Long on Belt Line Road, said someone shattered the glass doors by throwing plates into them, but they didn’t appear to enter the restaurant or take anything from the business.
He said they didn’t have outdoor security cameras installed at the time, but Garland Police Department spokesman Matt Pesta said grainy security camera footage from a nearby business showed two people shattering the restaurant’s windows after breaking windows at the nearby Vietnamese Community Center and attempting to spray paint graffiti on a neighboring mechanic shop.
“We’re just trying to keep our heads down and keep working,” Vu said.
During an incredibly difficult year for independent restaurants and amidst a wave of violence against the Asian community in the U.S., Vu said the smashed windows are especially disconcerting.
The Garland Police Department said there’s nothing that indicates the restaurant and Vietnamese Community Center, which are located in a shopping center with a handful of other Asian businesses who were not affected, were targeted for being an Asian-owned business, and they don’t believe the vandalism was racially motivated. Vu said his family initially had that concern when they saw the damage to their business considering similar incidents at other Asian-owned businesses around the country.
“It’s impossible to avoid that thought that it could be a hate crime, but even if it was, it doesn’t change anything about what we do or how we run our business,” he said.
After sweeping up glass and boarding up the doors, the Vu family got back to work in the kitchen. They can’t afford to close while they wait for the doors to be fixed, Vu said, so they are directing customers to enter in the side door and continuing to do what they’ve done for over a decade — serving up bowls of fragrant pho and their signature banh cuon thang long, steamed rice paper filled with peppery ground pork and shrimp.