The First Few Years
After Ivan came through, I remember seeing these trees (I mean BIG trees) lifted completely out of the ground, roots and all. One house standing, the next completely demolished. First time I had ever seen such destruction. It was a little overwhelming to be truthful. We stopped at the Walmart on our way in to town to pick up some essentials. Walked down the beer isle, literally one bottle of beer on the whole row. I was laughing and crying at the same time. I knew this was not going to be good. We went directly to the Wine Store and the Restaurant to see if and what the damage was. The floor was flooded but the windows weren't broken. Wine bottles had blown corks. Other than that, everything was as when we left. Over the next week we spent the time cleaning up the neighborhood so we could move around. We couldn't open the restaurant for another couple of weeks, in the meantime we were boiling water. All of our food distribution peeps were closed, most of them in Florida which caught the brunt of the east side of the hurricane. When we were finally able to open, we took one of the plywood boards from the windows and a sawhorse and put up a sign on the road. "Good Food, Cold Beer, Friendly People". Chef Rudy made all comfort food, whatever we could get at the grocery that day. Every day was different. People kept coming back. Our business grew and continued to grow. We had a great local following that are still with us today. We couldn't be more grateful.
In 2007 we decided to take it to the next level. For us that meant finding a property and putting the restaurant on it. We did just that, at 225 E 16th Ave. My friends all said to me "oh Nina, what are you doing?" I couldn't understand what they meant. Today, when I look back at the photographs of the pre-build I am awestruck at how bad a shape the property was in. But back then, that's not what I saw. I saw where we are today. The build-out took us eight months. We opened on June 6th 2008. It is hard to put into words what an amazing feeling it is to see your dream develop into this full grown, real, beautiful existence.