Restaurant determined to rise above floodwater from the ceiling

GRETNA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Over the years, we’ve seen small businesses devastated by fire and the emotional toll it takes to rise from the ashes. While a Gretna restaurant was hit hard by a different kind of catastrophe, the determination to re-open is the main course.

Just as business was looking up, Colin Daro, co-owner of MacDaro's Pub & Pizzeria, did the same, “and I didn’t expect to see a waterfall coming from the ceiling.”

An uncoupled fire sprinkler pipe in the attic might have caused the downpour on the restaurant’s kitchen last Friday night.

Front Manager Amanda Conners said it was, “just gallons and gallons and gallons.”

Water flowed through light fixtures, soaking cooks preparing meals for a nearly packed house.

“We covered up the fryers because we thought it would cause a fire, potentially,” Conners said.

What caused the sprinkler pipe to leak is still being investigated. The restaurant’s insurance company advised the owner not to speculate on who is responsible for damage costs.

Approximately 90 customers had Friday dinner plans washed out. Luckily, two plumbers were among those having dinner that night and shut off the water after about 10 minutes.

“We’re working as hard as we can to reopen,” Conners said.

But on Wednesday, several others had to be turned away.

“It’s very sad to not have it open right now,” one customer said. “We were looking forward to coming.”

A 6-month-old grill, salad table, and other nearly new restaurant equipment were still wet and covered with soaked attic insulation this week — even light bulbs were full of water.

There are also water-soaked paychecks and W2s for 35 employees — most part-time, some of them high schoolers.

“Most of our servers are used to walking out of here with cash in their pocket every night. And basically, we’re all out of jobs,” Connors said.

But the co-owner will clean up and not give up.

“We’re going to come back better and stronger and you got to look at the positives,” Daro said. “That’s all you can do.”

Insurance adjusters and engineers are already making damage assessments.

“We’re definitely going to be back. We just don’t know when,” Daro said.

The customers said they’ll be there: “They’ll get it back going. It’s a great place.”

The owner and staff are already planning a new menu and mixed drinks made with only a splash; nothing like what flowed last Friday night.