June 10 2015 12:00 AM

South Lansing Burmese restaurant reopens after weeklong shutdown

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (left) tours Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant with owner Moe Naing Israel and his wife, Mi Latt Thanda. Allan I. Ross/City Pulse

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10 — Eight days after being shut down by the health department for having no running water, Naing Myanmar Family Restaurant is scheduled to reopen on Friday.

The south Lansing restaurant, which specializes in Burmese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine, had had no running water since May 13. Owner/operator Moe Naing Israel had been bringing in water from home and boiling it to use for cooking and cleaning purposes, but an inspection by the Ingham County Health Department discovered the lack of water Thursday and forced him to close.

Israel is relieved to be reopening, but remains upset that his landlord, Harpreet “Rocky” Singh, allowed this to happen.

“I paid him on time, but he didn’t pay the bills and now I’m (losing business),” Israel said. “He doesn’t return my calls. What kind of (property owner) does that?”

IMG_2257_1.JPGThe restaurant is inside a plaza at 3308 N. Cedar St. Singh lives in Lansing, but is vacationing in India. His nephew, Money Singh, put him on speakerphone to speak with city officials who gathered outside the restaurant’s front door at 1:30 this afternoon. The assembly included Israel and his friends and family; Dick Peffley, interim general manager for the Lansing Board of Water & Light; and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

At the end of the conversation, Singh agreed to pay $2,000 of the roughly $11,000 owed in back water bills, which was good enough for Peffley to greenlight a water turn-on. Singh claimed a water main break in January led to a high water bill, and the BWL didn’t return his calls.

After a story in the Lansing State Journal yesterday, one of the restaurant’s regular guests, Joe Bissell-Maynard, started a crowdsourcing campaign to help Israel out financially. A little over 24 hours after being launched, over $8,500 has been raised.

“I just plan on giving it to him and letting him do whatever he wants with it,” Bissell-Maynard said. “Maybe move to a new place.”

Israel’s wife, Mi Latt Thanda, said the restaurant lost an entire week’s worth of inventory because of the closure. She plans to spend tomorrow shopping to prepare for Friday’s reopening.

“Now I’m going to have to come in and try your food,” Bernero said as he was walking back toward his car after the meeting. “I’ve heard so many good things now, I have no choice.”