Atsuko “Ana” Nakao

HUNTINGTON BEACH — An online fundraiser is under way for Atsuko “Ana” Nakao, an Orange County restaurateur who was severely burned in an accident.

She and her husband Akira run VegiLicious in Huntington Beach. A Go Fund Me page established by Nahoko Kelly Venezia last week on behalf of the couple has raised nearly $69,000 from about 1,000 people toward the $100,000 goal as of Monday evening.

“I’m fundraising money to help Atsuko ‘Ana;’ recover and be able to walk again from severe burn injuries on both of her legs,” Venezia wrote. “Ana is the most nice, kind, and warm person you would meet with a big heart and a brightest smile. She is a wonderful wife to Akira. Both of them work hard running the best organic and vegan restaurant VegiLicious in Huntington Beach …

“She just had a traumatic injury to both of her legs burnt severely and she is hospitalized. Ana and her husband Akira run Vegilicious by themselves. Akira cooks in the kitchen and Ana serves tables. Without Ana being able to work, it is very hard for Vegilicious to stay in business, which means they are losing their only source of income to pay for huge medical bills. Please help fund Ana for a speedy recovery and to be able to walk again.”

The address of the fundraising page is:

On the restaurant’s Facebook page, Akira Nakao posted on Sunday: “We will temporarily be closed until further notice. The owner’s wife Ana, our only server, is hospitalized for serious burns on her entire legs and butt that she caught from the butane gas heater while serving on the patio. Please keep on checking updates on this site. Thank you for your understanding.”

Nakao said that for Ana, who had undergone eight hours of surgery, just trying to sit up “was hard and painful and made her very tired. It looks like she cannot even temporarily go home for a while.”

He estimated that the ICU burn unit will cost $16,500 per day.

The Facebook page includes the following description of the restaurant: “My wife and I come from Japan and have a big dream that one day all the people in the world will live happy and peacefully. Because the U.S. is the No.1 or No.2 country of obesity, disease, meat consumption, and greenhouse gas emission from livestock (per person), we wanted to help better the situations for people, animals and the planet and established the organic vegan restaurant VegiLicious in this country, spending $200,000 in 2013 quitting Akira’s former job, the general manager of a large BBQ restaurant chain.

“We make healthy delicious nutritious food from scratch WITH organic ingredients and LOVE withOUT white sugar, refined salt, oil (except for organic olive oil for pan-fried items) and MSG unlike most other restaurants for your health and real happiness.

“Please come dine and/or order food to go so we can continue contributing to the health and real happiness of people and the planet next year, the year after and more.

“Since we operate the restaurant with only two of us, you might have to wait for a long time when we receive many orders in the same time frame. We always guarantee our food quality and your satisfaction, though.”

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