From the Seaport to Staten Island, we’ll be checking in with restaurants all over the city that were hit by Sandy and updating you on their struggles and recoveries.
Puglia by the Sea sat right on the water in Staten Island, and as a result was one of the most damaged restaurants in the borough. “I just bought this place last year and I re-did everything,” said owner Ben Mancuso. “Everything inside this place was brand spankin’ new.” Mancuso said they lost a bar, chairs, and almost everything inside the restaurant. “One of my dining rooms was on the water. That was washed away. It’s completely gone.” He isn’t sure when Puglia will be able to open again. “How long could it take? It could take three months, six months, a year? It’s a slow process but I’m doing my best to reopen.”
Historic landmark Fraunces Tavern, near Battery Park, was flooded with nearly $200,000 in damages, according to the Daily News, and is still closed. A message on the website reads, “While we currently do not have a date for reopening, we want to assure you we are doing everything in our power to return this much loved New York institution back to her former glory.”
Bridge Cafe, one of the city’s oldest restaurants and bars, got hit hard near South Street Seaport, and will not open in the near future. Adam Weprin, whose family owns the restaurant, said on Wednesday afternoon that he needed to replace 85 percent of the restaurant’s floor and support beams. “Our ultimate goal is to reopen, but as of when and where we have no clue.”
Right now, Weprin is looking for kind words from customers. “Any pat on the back to keep us going is great because this is very demoralizing. I’m 100 percent sure we’ll bounce back, but to what degree?” There is no timeline for Bridge Cafe’s return or for the surrounding South Street Seaport’s recovery. “It’s horrible about the restaurant, but we’re all alive. We’ll take it from there.”
Nathan’s Famous, the home to classic frankfurters in Coney Island, will remain closed until springtime. A national spokeswoman told Brooklyn Paper, “Nathan’s has begun the process of rebuilding and anticipates reopening this spring, before the summer season.” Home to the International Hot Dog Eating Competition, Nathan’s sustained substantial damages during the hurricane, but officials say the contest will still happen this summer.
“It’s hard to cope,” said Leisah Swenson, one of the owners of home/made in Red Hook. The home-goods store turned cafe is still waiting for electricity and hot water. “Until we have those things we’re not able to do much,” Swenson said. On Sunday they’ll host a big work day to begin repair to damaged sheet rock, and they’ve set up a GoFundMe donation site in order to offset some of the costs. “We’re trying to take some of the pressure off Restore Red Hook,” which is helping raise funds for small businesses in the area. “The more support we have from awesome people, the faster we can open.”
Capsouto Freres in TriBeCa is still waiting for insurance money, like many other Sandy-stricken restaurants. “We have no idea when we’re able to open,” said Jacques Capsouto, one of the brothers who owns the French eatery. “Everyone is offering loans but we’re still paying loans from 9/11.” On Washington Street, they’ve regained heat and a telephone line, but are still powerless. “We have the will. We have the heart. We have the mind. But we don’t have the funds.”