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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From Fort Lauderdale to Coconut Grove and beyond, restaurants are back in action. But they’re slower than ever because of Hurricane Irma.

“So it really affected us financially. It’s still slow. People still are worried about coming to South Florida as a tourist attraction,” said Andrei, a server.

a9fdc0b7e3644f2a9b1797774ff40cb2 Business Incredibly Slow For Restaurants Reopening After Irma

Cafe Europa on Los Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale shut down for 12 days due to power loss. (Source: CBS4)

Cafe Europa on Los Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale shut down for 12 days due to power loss.

“No server is prepared to take almost a two-week vacation. We all live off of gratuities and we figured that it was going to devastating,” said server Paul Romano.

“Being without power for four, five days, I was thinking, ‘What’s going on? Should I look for another job?’ It was a financial struggle, I was looking for other options,” Andrei added.

Thankfully he didn’t have to. Cafe Europa, like many other restaurants in town, is back open and ready to serve up their popular dishes.

At Monty’s in Coconut Grove, all eyes were on the marina in front of it with boats tossed around like toys. Everyone assumed the restaurant was demolished.

“A lot of coverage of our restaurant was because of the marina was damaged so everyone thought we were damaged but it was pretty superficial,” said Manager Mark Poor.

All the food was lost because of the eight-day power outage, but now Monty’s is back. CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo visited lunchtime Thursday, and the iconic restaurant which seats more than 700 was mostly empty.

The restaurant employs more than 100 people.

“It was hard on staff. Some are behind paying rents, dealing with the fact they had an unplanned full week off,” Poor said.

Bartender Brittany Chester is one of them. She relies on tips.

“Eight days without pay is not a good thing. It was tough for everyone. We’re a huge restaurant. We have a huge staff so everybody suffered overall,” Chester said.

And now all the restaurants want to get the word out.

“The marina may be destroyed but we’re not. We’re standing,” said Chester.

The signature pirate at Monty’s still stands tall, and they want you to know, as well as the other restaurants in town do, that they are back and ready for your business.


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