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Former Waiter Accuses Restaurant Owner of Threats, Forcing Him to House His Co-Workers

Plus, California salmon season is most likely canceled entirely, and more Bay Area food news

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Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

A server at San Jose’s Karimi Restaurant is suing his employer and accusing them of threatening deportation and forcing him to house two other employees at his apartment, the Mercury News reports. The lawsuit also alleges the employee was underpaid by $80,000 during the almost four years he worked at the restaurant and that the owner threatened to “destroy him and his family.” It goes on to say that the employee was forced to “affirmatively misrepresent” that owner Rifakat Saiyed’s wife worked at the restaurant in order to receive COVID-related unemployment benefits.

Afwan Mohammed, now 23, arrived in the U.S. on a student visa from India, when he began working at the restaurant. He’s the main leaseholder at the apartment where the two other employees were (and are currently) residing. Further issues remain with the apartment Mohammed was forced to share despite moving on to another job and apartment, as three Karimi employees and a fourth person are still there and under threat of eviction. Mohammed filed for a temporary restraining order against Saiyed in September, which was approved, but in the proceedings, Saiyed denied the harassment claims against him. The restaurant owner could not be reached for comment by the paper.

California’s 2023 commercial salmon fishing could be canceled

“Nearly record-low numbers” of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River have led the Pacific Fishery Management Council to adopt a proposal close California’s 2023 commercial salmon fishing season for the first time since 2008, the Los Angeles Times reports. The group is expected to finalize the decision in a meeting early next month. “We don’t have enough salmon this year to have a season,” the president of the Golden State Salmon Association told the paper.

Big Apple Bagels opens in Folsom

Stay with us here: Illinois-based bagel business, Big Apple Bagels, is opening a new store in Folsom, the Sacramento Bee reports. The brand is known for its “made-from-scratch bagels,” franchisee Scott Walters told the paper, and joins a sister location in El Dorado Hills. The Folsom location is expected to open later this year.

Eat your heart out at not one, but two restaurant weeks in the East Bay

Restaurant weeks are not only a way for restaurants to drum up some business — although that part helps — but also a great way for diners to experience the food at various restaurants at a relative discount. Two restaurant weeks in the East Bay are underway, with a number of great places participating during lunch, brunch, and dinner: Oakland Restaurant Week started on Thursday, March 16, and runs for 11 days until Sunday, March 26, while Fremont Restaurant Week starts Friday, March 17 until Sunday, March 26.