Ongoing repairs caused by storm damage preventing some local restaurants from reopening
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Several businesses across the area remain closed as they continue to deal with damage caused by last week’s winter storm.
It was supposed to be a better year for restaurants, bars, and small business owners struggling to keep their doors open in 2021. But so far, it’s only proving to be more of the same. The pandemic is keeping many of them operating at reduced hours and limited capacity, and now repairs to fix flooding or appliance failures are preventing some from being open for business at all.
Richard Risbon owns Hullabaloo Diner. He says they’ve already had to replace over 20 broken pipes that froze in last week’s storm, and they continue to find more problems once they think they’ve solved the last one. Plumbers have been working on the diner for two full days now.
“We’ve kind of lost count right now. We’ve got about seven punctures into our floor all over and all the bathrooms,” Ribson said. “We thought we got it taken care of, but it’s still going. Every time we turn the water on, we seem to find one or two more problems.”
Barry Ivins owns The Corner Bar and Rooftop Grill, Carney’s Pub and Grill, The Kyle House, and Polite Coffee Roasters. He says the water heater broke at Carney’s and he’s found a couple of leaks at The Kyle House, but The Corner Bar suffered significant water damage, including at least 15 leaks on the rooftop alone.
“The Corner Bar was flooding from the rooftop because the sprinkler system up there had busted, and it kind of flooded all three floors,” Ivins said.
As the pandemic nears the one-year mark, the impossible circumstances seem as if they are never-ending to these restaurant owners.
“You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do to keep going,” Risbon said. “It’s tough. It’s trying when you think you’ve got it, but the hits just keep coming.”
Ivins says the difficulties of 2020 have primed them to put up with the worst of the worst. As hard as the setbacks have been, he says it’s comforting to see the community work together through all these problems.
“In 2019, I probably would’ve been completely devastated and trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” Ivins said. “But after everything we had to deal with in 2020 and not being able to have any answers and not knowing when we were going to open, I know I can do it. I have a big to-do list, we’re going to get the to-do list done, and we’re going to open back up.”
“We’ve had a really good group of loyal customers, and they’re the ones who have kept us going,” Risbon said. “And they’re all waiting. They’ll be here the first day we open. We’ve been here almost 15 years, and our core group has stuck with us all the way.”
All the support has gone a long way in taking some of the edge of the challenges, Ivins says.
“We’re going to get through it. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Ivins said. “The main thing I’m trying to figure out right now is how to keep my staff together.”
Risbon hopes the Hullabaloo Diner can reopen on Thursday, although he says optimism for opening this week is waning after all of Monday’s setbacks. Ivins is still working with plumbers to drain the water out of The Corner Bar, but he expects Carney’s to be back open Tuesday night.
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