Simply for Simon’s

By Erin Rohac / Asst. Features Editor

Tamale factory charitable event- The event raised money for downtown Riverside’s bakery Simple Simon’s to aid in fire damage reports. (Erin Rohac / Asst. Features Editor)

By Erin Rohac / Asst. Features Editor

In the picturesque courtyard near the Mission Inn, there are dress shops, antique stores, used books, as well as many dining photos.

Among the long list of eateries is a small sandwich/bakery known as Simple Simon’s.

The owners Susie Thiel and Mark Rubin opened around fourteen years ago and it continues to be an extremely popular lunch spot for anyone in Riverside.

However, if you went there today you would find the doors closed and no one inside. That is because on Feb. 12, an electrical fire broke out in the kitchen in the middle of the night, causing nearly $200,000 worth of damages.

The cafe’s bakery, located off of Jurupa Ave. and Magnolia Ave., has also closed its doors due to the fire. Although this iconic café is having a run of bad luck right now, they are not completely out yet. Through the assistance of the city of Riverside, renovations to the downtown setting are in the works and they hope to be back up and running within a few months.

A prominent representative of this generosity has been The Tamale Factory, particularly the owner Josie Hornback. She planned and threw a benefit party in hopes of raising money to help get the cafe back on their feet.

“Josie is such a generous individual and she really cares for the people in her life. When the fire broke out in Simple Simon’s, Josie was so sad to hear the news, she immediately offered to help,” said Yolanda Meyers, close friend to the Tamale Factory owner.

On Feb. 25, the fundraiser began around 6:30 p.m. inside The Tamale Factory. The quaint restaurant served exquisite food such as rosemary chicken and steak skewers, mini quesadillas and flautas, creamy guacamole, along with an array of cheese and fruits, in an artsy yet home-like atmosphere. On top of food, red and white wines were being poured in every direction.  The energy was overwhelming and palpable.

Nearly every person working the event was a volunteer. This included the greeters, waiters and even the band The Secrets. With classic rock filling up the restaurant, you could see the 100 plus patrons really enjoying the event and the generosity of the night.

Although the 25 employees who work for Simple Simon’s have now lost their jobs, there are some who are willing to help these people in their dire needs. The surrounding restaurants are supporting Simple Simon’s and trying to assist in giving some of its employees temporary work, including Hornback who has offered some of the employees jobs for social events and parties.

Every person who attended is a current patron/customer to the downtown Simple Simon’s. Although the benefit was held under unfortunate circumstances, it really showed how much people care about the bistro getting back on its feet.

The night turned out to be such a successful event, raising a generous amount of money, and really showing a community that comes together in a time of need.

Devour the goods- Merriment with food were served and wine poured throughout the evening by volunteers and friends of The Tamale Factory. (Erin Rohac / Asst. Features Editor)