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National

Houston Deli Owner Vows To Stay Open During Harvey Until Food Runs Out

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Most businesses in Houston are still closed, including grocery stores and restaurants. That was Ali Mohsen's plan - to keep his business, Anthonie's Deli on Cypress Creek Parkway, closed.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

But when we called the deli, he could barely talk. He was so busy attending to customers during the lunch hour.

ALI MOHSEN: Yeah, yeah, listen. I know. I know. I'm still busy right now. You have to catch me, like, in - because, you know, people - in and out, in and out. I don't have - I'm the only one here. I have only one help.

MCEVERS: So we called him back after the lunch rush, when he explained that none of his other employees could make it through the floodwaters to get to Anthonie's Deli.

MOHSEN: They have very problem coming to work because they all live in that area, and they're flooded. I have one person, only one lady. She lives across the street from the store. That's the only one I have here. So actually, I open yesterday. I was coming up here to take some food home to my family. So I come over. As soon I opened the door, I see people start coming in. They say, please, nobody is open but you, and we're hungry. So I stayed open till, like, 10 o'clock that night. So I do that. I did that again today.

People - they thanks me a lot for being open. And I've been taking order by phone. A lot of, like, regular customers - they call me, see if I'm open, and - but we serve everything. We have - I mean we run out of a few of things, but we have food to serve, like, today and tomorrow, I think. After that, I don't know. Maybe we just hope to God the situation is getting better and the rain will stop and Mr. Harvey will go away so we'll be back to normal. Then we can get food supply. We can go to food companies. We can order. We can - people can deliver - you know, anything we can bring food to the place.

As long as no rain, no flood, the street is open, we'll be OK. But I just called two, three supplier actually today, and nobody open. And they say, we don't know how long we're going to be closed because we cannot - going to take a risk to be in the freeways.

SHAPIRO: Ali Mohsen is the owner of Anthonie's Deli in Houston. He says he's also been giving food away to the homeless.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: August 29, 2017 at 12:00 AM EDT
The audio on this story page includes elements that were missing when the story originally aired during the first feed of All Things Considered.