Restaurants still recovering from trashed food, lost revenue during summer storm

The impact of the Summer Solstice storm in late June is adding up to more than downed trees. For small businesses without power on a summer weekend, the financial impact was significant.

Restaurants without power for days included Fuji Ya at 600 W. Lake St., The Bulldog Uptown at 2549 Lyndale, The Gray House at 610 W. Lake St., Rudolphs Bar-B-Que at 1933 Lyndale, and Nightingale at 2551 Lyndale.

Nightingale had a full restaurant at 8 p.m. Friday, June 21 when the storm hit. Staff lit candles, and when the power didn’t come back, the restaurant emptied. The power didn’t return until the following Sunday at 1 a.m.

“We were trying to ice all of our food down, but we had to throw out all of our food,” said co-owner Jasha Johnston.

Nightingale had been looking forward to Open Streets on Lyndale June 23, particularly to show off its brunch menu that started a few weeks earlier. With the power out, that couldn’t happen.

“We had a great showing by the community to support us after that,” Johnston said. “But it’s far from recouping what we lost.”

Insurance might cover some of the food losses, but not the lost revenue, he said.

Tom Hanson, owner of Fuji Ya, said it was difficult to miss out on two-and-a-half days of business while residents without power swarmed to area restaurants. It was particularly difficult to see businesses with power across the street catch all the restaurant traffic, he said.

John Dykhuis, manager of Bulldog, noted that his employees lost out on tip revenue.

“Friday and Saturday are money-making shifts,” he said.

Muddy Waters at 2933 Lyndale alerted wandering Twitter followers to a “fortune’s worth” of cheese in its dumpster, and later joked that staff were “weeping in the dark with our fair trade, locally grown garbage.” The business was closed five days to allow for cleanup and prep work.

“Come on back and enjoy the patio,” said Manager Michelle Barrett.