Restaurants at Washington Harbour are getting back to business after a damaging spring flood.
On Friday, Tony and Joe's reopened for the first time since April 19th.
With no kitchen, Tony and Joe’s is cooking on the grill, keeping food on ice and trying to get back to normal.
“We want to be back for our employees,” said Dean Cibel of Tony and Joe’s. “We want to be back for our customers so they know we're out here. We're out here trying hard to get back up and functional to the fullest that we're able to do.”
This weekend, being Mother’s Day, would have been a busy and lucrative time for the popular restaurant. Wait staff and bus boys who have been sidelines since the flood are eager to get back to work.
“I have a lot of bills to pay--health insurance to pay,” said Lewis McKisset, a waiter. “ This is our busy time of the season. We've really lost a lot of money in the last month or two.”
Millions of dollars in damage was done last month when flood walls were inadvertently left down. Ten to 12 feet of water damaged popular restaurants and other tenants.
Some businesses predicted that they'd be closed until past Mother's Day.
Hundreds of people were evacuated April 18 after the Washington Harbour Shopping Plaza on the Georgetown waterfront flooded. The flooding submerged chairs and tables at restaurants and poured into an underground parking garage. Major property damage is expected but immediate estimates were not available.
The water, which was waist deep inside some restaurants, poured in after the flood walls weren’t put in place, residents said.
A $5 million class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for D.C. last week on behalf of persons and entities “who have lost or will lose income as a result of the flooding.
The complaint, filed by Mason LLP, alleges that there was enough time to raise flood walls after a flood warning was issued. MRP Realty, the owner and manager of the Washington Harbour complex, did not do so, it alleges.
According to the law firm, “the lawsuit seeks recovery of lost income and lost profit for businesses and their employees caused by the negligent failure of MRP Realty to raise the flood walls.”
The lawsuit was initiated by a bartender at Farmers and Fishers. A number of individuals were interested in filing, according to the law firm, but no restaurants or businesses as a whole are involved.
Despite the limited menu at Tony and Joe’s, patrons are glad to see one of the hardest hit restaurants up and running.
“That's exactly what brings me here,” said Kelvin Stovall, a patron. “Just to be one of the first one back---just show them out support."