On Tuesday night, Howard Beach’s Vetro, got a chance to celebrate. The Italian restaurant threw a party for their friends and family, as they reopened a month after Hurricane Sandy.
Mark Sweeney, one of the owners, said they hosted a soft opening in their main hall, and will be open to the public on Thursday. “Our focus is to open and keep supporting the community,” he said.
The chefs at Vetro spent most of the hurricane aftermath taking care of their neighbors. Sweeney said they cooked over 1,000 pasta meals for the surrounding neighborhood, brought about 300 meals to Broad Channel, and fed the policemen and firemen in Far Rockaway.
But after they made their own repairs, Sweeney said they were excited to be a home again for loyal patrons. “We just want to get the community back to where it was.”
All through December, meals will be 15 percent off — “to help everyone get back on their feet” — and a festive night of dancing will take place on Thursday in the lounge.
Joe’s Crab Shack in Oceanside opened for the first time this morning. They celebrated by giving the first 100 patrons free crab for a year (!) and management will hold a two-week-long donation drive.
Joe’s sustained two feet of flooding and as a result had an “extensive remodel,” said Kevin Goggins, the Director of Operations at Joe’s. “We weren’t prepared to wait as long as we had to.” But they made good use of the waiting time. The chain restaurant with outposts all over the country became a community meeting spot in Oceanside.
“I brought 15 containers of gas down from Albany,” Goggins said. Employees and customers could come to Joe’s to fill up their tanks. “We bought a bunch of grills and cooked food at the Long Beach train station.” All together, Goggins estimated they served about 4,200 meals.
At around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a line started to form outside Joe’s with patrons ready to win a coveted spot on the free crab for a year list. Goggins watched people queue up and said over the phone, “We’re trying to be an oasis where people can forget about their troubles, even for an hour.”