National Grid writes check for restaurant recovery bills

The Chowder Bar in Bay Shore was one The Chowder Bar in Bay Shore was one of six restaurants that received grant money from National Grid Photo Credit: handout

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Superstorm Sandy wrecked Molly Malone's in Bay Shore. Four feet of water flooded the bay-front restaurant, wreaking more than $500,000 in damage.

After almost six months, owner Peter Higgins is still working to fully reopen in time for summer. "Everything was wiped out," he said. "It was pretty devastating."

But Molly Malone's and six other South Shore small businesses in Islip and Babylon received a leg up Friday, as National Grid New York president Ken Daly presented a total of $300,000 in post-Sandy relief grants to their owners, many of whom lost months of income as they worked to resurrect their restaurants.

Donna Perricone, president of the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Chamber of Commerce, recruited businesses to apply for the post-Sandy grants.

"It was just an easy thing to do because we're talking about a small number of restaurants," Perricone said, adding that the worst damage in Bay Shore was to the famous waterfront restaurants that are summer tourism hot spots, including Nicky's Clam Bar and Chowder Bar.

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"I'm very proud of these restaurants. They're wonderful members of the chamber and the business community, so it's very relevant to me that some company decided to give grants rather than loans to these businesses," she said. "There was a major gap between what they received from insurance and what they had to do [to reopen]."

Other businesses to the east and west of Bay Shore also received grants of between $25,000 and $50,000, including Tres Palm in Babylon, Babylon Beach House assisted living center, and the Cull House and Land's End restaurants in Sayville.

"This actually started the morning of Oct. 30," the day after Sandy struck, Daly said. "We all woke up . . . and we realized there was a lot that needed to be done and we made a promise that day that we would be with . . . all our communities every day."

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