Georgetown Waterfront Restaurants Reopen After Flood

11:16 PM, May 6, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) - Three restaurants along the Georgetown Waterfront are back open, almost three weeks after the entire harbour was flooded with water from the Potomac River.

Nick's Riverside Grill, Tony & Joe's, and Sequoia reopened on Thursday, but a charcoal grill is about as high-tech as it gets outside of Nick's and Tony and Joe's.

"For now, we are really only doing a simple hamburger," said Gregory Casten, one of the owners of both Nick's and Tony & Joe's. "It's going to be like a backyard bar-b-que and grill, only of course a little nicer."

It's taken Casten and his employees 18 days of non-stop work to get the patios back open. The interiors of the restaurants have been gutted and likely will not reopen until late May or early June. Construction is set to start at Nick's on Monday, and at Tony & Joe's by the end of next week.

But that didn't stop people from packing in for Friday happy hour.

"We got word that it was opening back up, and we couldn't believe it. We thought it would be closed for the rest of the summer," said a customer at Nick's.

"It's definitely not as crowded as usual. I don't think the word has gotten out yet that the patio is open. But it's great to see them back open again," said another customer.

But other restaurants are still boarded up. Farmers and Fishers likely will not reopen for several months.

Questions are still looming as to why the flood walls surrounding the harbour were not in place during the devastating high tide on the morning of April 18th. The management company responsible for those flood walls - MRP Realty - still hasn't explained what happened, leaving many people wondering if these businesses will sue.

"We haven't really discussed it honestly," said Casten. "Our focus now is entirely on getting everything back open and back to the level that it was at before the flood."

Even though Casten says he hasn't thought about it suing, other people certainly have. In fact, a DC Law Firm has already filled a $5-million lawsuit against MRP realty. The suit was filed on behalf of a bartender at Farmer's and Fishers, but so far none of the restaurants have joined the lawsuit.

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