Restaurant Name: Print
Location: Hell’s Kitchen in New York
Years in Business: Three
Status: Open for business, has phone service, but no Internet access.
Losses: None. The restaurant hasn’t closed for a single meal period before, during, or after the storm.
Owner: Adam Block
Prior to Sandy, had you ever had to deal with a disaster situation at this or any restaurant?
We were here for Hurricane Irene last year, but the intensity of Sandy was far worse than Irene. And we’ve always had an ongoing issue with the wind on our rooftop. In fact, before we first opened the wind gusts blew a couch off the roof. And, being one block off the Hudson, we have always had a big fear that the water would make it to us.
Did you shut the doors to prepare for the storm?
We stayed open, and we were there morning, noon, and night. Having dealt with Irene, I had the presence of mind on Sunday to order three days of food. We didn’t know if we would lose power, but we have a generator that can run for three or four days. Since we’re in a building with a 220-room hotel, we had guests stranded and it remained that way through Saturday. Most folks couldn’t really get out of town until Thursday, and then we had the marathoners come in, and then they couldn’t get out. So, we’ve been very busy from Monday on.
In the aftermath, the Red Cross has been set up one block away from us, and we are doing free meals for responders. And, we’ve gotten quite a bit of donations for those efforts from our vendors.
What was the actual experience of Sandy like?
Well, the building is an old printing factory and it withstood everything. We worried most about flying debris. There’s construction all over the neighborhood. Sixteen floors up, we have a greenhouse on our roof that is supposed to withstand 110-mile-per-hour winds. My biggest fear was that it would blow off the roof, so I kept the lounge closed, and I had to babysit that all night. It was frightening. As we prepared for the storm and the winds were already growing so loud at 30 and 40 miles per hour, I thought for certain that there would be no way it would withstand 100 mile an hour winds – but it did. It was amazing.
The other thing that was very difficult was that I had 125 employees, and I had to find enough who were willing to stay with me through the storm. It was a logistical nightmare, getting people rooms and pairing people up. But what I learned during Irene is that it was a bonding experience, and I would say the same was true here. Everyone worked together.
What was the most popular menu item during these days?
Burgers! Print restaurant has a very extensive menu and is focused on seasonal sourcing, but we served a lot of our grass-fed burgers and fries.
How is your staff holding up?
The ones that stayed there – some as many as five nights – started returning home when the subways returned. For the most part, they all seem to be doing fine, they were happy to have a safe place to sleep, and no one has sustained any major damage. Everybody’s back and eager to work.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing now?
Our biggest problem has been the Internet and people are assuming we are closed. So, through social media we are trying everything possible to let people know we are open.
Any words to share with Print diners?
We’re open, we’ve been open, and we haven’t missed a meal period. If you need a place to take a deep breath and forget about the past week, we’re here for you. Call or just come by!