SALT LAKE CITY — A small business owner is taking a chance in an area of the city long known for its issues with drug use and violent crime.
The intersection of 800 West and North Temple was the site of a deadly shooting in August 2020.
Following that incident, the Wienerschnitzel located on the southwest corner of the intersection shut down, leaving the decades-old building vacant for months.
“I have been here working for 18 years, and I love my neighbors,” said Alex Serrano.
For years, Serrano has managed the pizza restaurant across the street.
He recently decided the vacant Wienerschnitzel building was his opportunity to start his own business.
Saturday, he opened a restaurant that serves breakfast and Mexican food called ‘Love N.T.’
“We call it ‘Love N.T.,’” he said. “Love North Temple.”
Serrano is well aware of the area’s issues with crime.
“This is a pretty bad corner,” he said. “One of the worst corners here in Salt Lake.”
But that is inspiring him to do his part to change the neighborhood.
“We looked at it and he [Serrano] said, ‘This is going to work,’” said Nigel Swaby, the chair of the Fairpark Community Council and a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Salt Lake City Council.
Swaby is a real estate agent who helped Serrano rent the vacant space.
He is also a resident of the neighborhood and has led a community coalition to clean up North Temple. He believes that work is starting to pay dividends.
“I walked over here the other day with my seven-year-old daughter on Saturday when they were open,” Swaby said. “That's something I wouldn't have done before.”
Serrano knows opening this business is a risk for many reasons.
He is still working at his other job, and his family members are working two jobs to help make Love N.T. a success.
“This is the American dream, and we are going to work for it,” Serrano said.
He hopes that work is part of a recipe that restores the community he loves.
“At least I am putting my little piece,” Serrano said. “If we do something better to help out each other, we can fix all together.”
Love N.T. is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the southwest corner of 800 West North Temple.