Edge, Food

Student hotspots survive Hurricane Irma

When the University of Miami canceled classes Sept. 6, UM students and faculty were advised to evacuate. Over two and a half weeks later, people are trickling back onto campus and heading to their go-to restaurants and bars.

Restaurant owners faced varying damage to their properties. However, many of UM’s favorite spots are now open and excitedly awaiting the students’ return.

In Wynwood, SHOTS and the Salty Donut both closed their doors the same day UM canceled classes. SHOTS reopened one week later. Fortunately, most of its damage was minimal.

“Our curtains and the rods that held them were banging into our artwork and chipping away at the wall,” said Shayla Garcia, director of marketing for the franchise. “Our main fence and our entry were completely blown down. Otherwise, we didn’t sustain much damage. We had our staff preparing for 24 hours.”

While the Salty Donut prepared the building for Irma, it also tried to prepare food storage. The majority of its menu requires fresh fruits, eggs, butter, cream and milk, which cannot be stored if the power goes out.

“We tried to run out as much as we could pre-hurricane – threw away whatever we couldn’t go through – and then had to restock and reorder everything when we reopened as it became available from our suppliers,” said Andy Rodriguez, co-founder of the Salty Donut.

Returning after the hurricane can be just as difficult as evacuating. While students may have noticed shelves at Publix lacking common supplies, restaurant owners encountered a lack of resources from their suppliers. Even when the Salty Donut finally opened its doors, it ran on a limited menu due to limited resources.

In Coconut Grove, student favorite Monty’s struggled to get food back into the restaurant.

“We got power back on Thursday but we found out at 10 a.m. … So we didn’t have any food in the restaurant until Friday,” said Juan Barretta, assistant general manager of Monty’s. “That’s why we had to bring an army of people to prep the food and still run with a limited menu on that Friday.”

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The "Monty’s” sign at the student-favorite restaurant in Coconut Grove fractured post-Irma. Monty’s restaurant suffered minimal damage despite several boats washing onto the docks. The restaurant reopened Sept. 15. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

Barretta said he believes they lost “thousands of dollars worth of food.”

After the storm, some news outlets reported that the marina near Monty’s was destroyed. Many people assumed the restaurant was destroyed, too. Despite the confusion, Monty’s is fully functional.

“We had people call our catering manager and say, ‘Oh, so you guys are destroyed?’” Barretta said. “No, not at all.”

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Three boats washed ashore in Coconut Grove outside Monty’s after Hurricane Irma tore through South Florida with hurricane force winds. Monty’s, a popular hangout for UM students, is in an evacuation zone because of its proximity to the bay. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

Although Brickell flooded during the hurricane, Batch Gastropub had power and ran as usual the next day, Monday, Sept. 11, much to the community’s delight.

“We didn’t really skip a beat,” said Steven Schwartz, manager at Batch Gastropub. “We were really busy that Monday because we were the only thing open, and then Tuesday we were busy again because roads were still being cleared and power was getting restored. We made out pretty well. We just wish everyone else the best as far as their businesses and their homes.”

Because of restaurant closures, Miami Spice – an event at which restaurants serve meals at reduced prices – has been extended through Oct. 31. Monty’s is part of Miami Spice for the first time this year.

Garcia said she is optimistic about the promotion extension.

“What helps our area, helps us,” said Garcia.

All the restaurants missed Miami students. As Barretta put it, “Fridays are UM days.”

Much like palm trees, these restaurants can withstand a bit of extreme weather. The restaurants are offering full menus today.

September 25, 2017

Reporters

Esther Ponce De Leon


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