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Bandito's Is Still in Construction Hell

And Kanwar Sandhanwali is borrowing money to pay his staff.

by Sabine Bickford

From the October, 2018 issue

When we last heard from Bandito's owner Kanwar Sandhanwalia last spring, he was paying his employees out of his life savings while waiting out long-delayed renovations to his Mexican restaurant's Fourth Ave. building. He said at the time that he'd been told by Joe Barbat, who's adding two floors of condos to the building, that he could expect to reopen last October, but by then he was praying for this June.

Now the new expected date is December. Sandhanwalia has taken out a large loan to keep sustaining his employees and himself, and, he says, Barbat is asking him to fund a portion of the renovations. "I'm desperate," he said in a call to the Observer. (Barbat had not returned our call at press time.)

To offset some of his losses Sandhanwalia has been operating a small taxi service to DTW and back, but "it's not going too well," he says. "There's so much competition from Lyft and Uber."

Sandhanwalia says pride prevents him from creating an online fundraiser-"it's like begging, and I'm not begging, I'm just frustrated that it's taking so long"- but he's open to suggestions. He's been able to sell a few gift cards over the restaurant's Facebook page to be used when Bandito's is back in business. "If anyone in the world wants to contact me," he says, "I could use the help." He can be reached at     (end of article)

[Originally published in October, 2018.]


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