The flash flooding that inundated parts of Port Jefferson village earlier this week shuttered at least two restaurants, one of them for the foreseeable future.
On Friday, both Ruvo East and neighboring Old Fields Restaurant on Wynn Lane were kinetic scenes of blowing fans, akimbo furniture and employees and contractors cleaning up after several inches to several feet of water poured into them on Tuesday night around 7:45 p.m. during a storm.
“It was hairy,” said David Tunney, co-owner of Old Fields, where a half-foot of water poured into the dining room. For a time, employees and patrons were held in the restaurant by officials because of dangerous conditions outside. Tunney said he told guests, “It’s a good thing you’re trapped in a bar,” and drinks were on the house for the next hour or so, until the all clear to leave.
Tunney said “20 people have been working for two days’ straight” to reopen the restaurant by Friday at 5 p.m.
The flooding was worse at neighboring Ruvo East, which is on slightly lower ground and where waist-high water inundated the place “fast,” said Joseph DeNicola of DeNicola Brothers Concepts, the owner of Ruvo East. Patrons and employees had to be evacuated, and DeNicola said that refrigeration equipment was floating in the floodwater.
Last night, the restaurant sent out an email that they would be closed indefinitely — but DeNicola said many of the 60 employees have been working nonstop to reopen the restaurant, a challenging task given the scale of the flooding and how much needed to be gutted, from food to furniture.
However, on Friday morning, the restaurant appeared remarkably scoured for a place that had been underwater 60 hours beforehand. Ruvo has been operating on Wynn Lane for 12 years, and though DeNicola could not recall a flood there, the village has historically been known as Drowned Meadow -- and whoever originally laid the slate floors in the building was possibly wise to that fact. “This place was built for a flood,” DeNicola observed.
Several inches of rain fell in the span of an hour Tuesday evening, and the storm caused at least $500,000 in damages to the village’s businesses, Mayor Margot Garant told Newsday earlier this week.
For those wishing to show support, Ruvo has a sister location in Greenlawn, as does Old Fields; DeNicola Brothers Concepts also own a string of restaurants across Long Island, including La Tavola in Sayville and several Del Fuego Restaurants.