Current Weather
The Spy FM

N.J. Chef: ‘It’s A Disaster In Here’ After Irene

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 31, 2011

Many of the places in Hurricane Irene’s path were big tourist destinations: North Carolina’s Outer Banks; Cape Cod; Ocean City, Md. Some businesses in those areas escaped relatively unscathed, allowing managers to breathe a sigh of relief and hope for a big turnout on Labor Day weekend.

Others weren’t so lucky — places like Sallee Tee’s Grille, blocks from the ocean in Monmouth Beach, N.J. It’s a big operation that serves everything from jumbo sea scallops, to deli fare, to sushi.

Nick Kouvel is the chef and general manager of Sallee Tee’s.

“It’s a disaster in here,” he tells Morning Edition guest host David Greene, in a phone call from the restaurant. “As you can hear, in the background, I have people ripping carpets up right now. We’re trying to get items cleaned. And everything’s a loss, in terms of food.”

When the storm was coming, Kouvel stayed at the restaurant until Saturday afternoon, when a mandatory evacuation forced him to leave. He returned to find a building that had suffered severe flooding.

As an additional insult, the carpets were put down only months ago, as part of a renovation.

“I’m looking at a scene that’s making me sick right now,” Kouvel says. “It has to be taken care of, a step at a time. We won’t do anything other than doing it the right way, because that’s how we always do it at Sallie Tee’s.”

Recovering from Irene will mean the restaurant misses out on Labor Day, one of its biggest money-making weekends.

“It’s a huge weekend. It’s our last hurrah,” Kouvel says. He notes that the restaurant does steady business year-round — “however, Labor Day weekend is a very, very busy weekend for us.”

The forced closure is also bad news for the restaurant’s 60 employees; Kouvel says that while some workers will be paid to help the renovation, others will likely have to file for unemployment.

“I feel horrible, because we have wonderful people that work in this place,” he says. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center