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TikTok video helps save Lakewood restaurant from closure

Clawful's only non-owner employee said the owners thought they were going to lose their restaurant by the end of this year--until a TikTok influencer stepped in.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A TikTok video looks to be saving a Lakewood restaurant from closure. Clawful, a Vietnamese Cajun seafood restaurant, opened just a few weeks before the pandemic in March 2020.

Since then, the business on Wadsworth has struggled to attract customers. For the last year, Daniel Pyun has been the restaurant's only non-owner employee.

"We couldn't really afford it, so I've been the only person since I've started working," the 20-year-old said. "It's been very slow." 

That's when Eli Stone stepped in. The 22-year-old is a TikTok influencer with more than 300,000 followers.

"I've been friends with Daniel and he's the one that helped me with TikTok and my life has taken a wild ride because of that," Stone said. "So Daniel told me the situation and what was going on."

Using his platform, Stone created a TikTok video introducing the first-generation owners and their struggles. The video has more than 300,000 views.

"We saw that the video was picking up a lot, and then the next day--I've never seen so many people in my entire life in this place," Pyun said. 

Because Pyun is the only employee, Stone and his friends spent the weekend volunteering to help out the restaurant. On Sunday, five high schoolers with little to no restaurant experience lent a hand as the restaurant filled up for the third day in a row. 

"People obviously resonated with the story, and that’s my passion is getting people to authentically resonate with things, and as long as that touches them that’s all that matters to me," Stone said.

The owners of the restaurant have been in awe of the outcome. Pyun said since the surge of customers, the owners, Sam and Maria, have been speechless. 

"It just made me want to tear up because they thought they were going to lose their restaurant by the end of this year," Pyun said. "Here we are having like 10 times the amount of people in one weekend. It’s just been amazing."

The team has created a GoFundMe to help pay the volunteers as the owners adjust to the newfound success. 

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