Post-Sandy Restaurant Recovery Stories: JoeDoe in the East Village Online + Open

JoeDoe owners and operators Chef Joe Dobias and Jill Schulster pose with their famous housemade Fried Matzo outside their restaurant.

Restaurant Name: JoeDoe
Location: East Village
Years in business: Four
Status: Fully open.
Damage: None.
Losses: Minimal amounts of food; six days of service.
Owner: Joe Dobias

Prior to Sandy, had you ever had to deal with a disaster situation at this or any restaurant?

I’ve been here for quite a few of them recently. I was here for the blackout in ’03. The restaurant I was working at on the Upper East Side lost everything there. That wound up going out of business, not directly as a result of that, but it was the final nail in the coffin.

Then, in 2006, I was working in Queens when much of it was blacked out for days. We actually wound up barbecuing in the street in front of that restaurant, serving $10 plates of food a night. So, I’ve been through things like this previously, and the idea that anyone in an official capacity was surprised by the intensity of this storm is ridiculous.

When did you shut the doors to prepare for the storm?

We closed down early in anticipation of it, losing all of Sunday night. Then, at 8PM on Monday night, we lost power. I hear people talking about losing tens of thousands in inventory, but we were fortunate. We were at the end of the week, and we close on Mondays anyway. Also, we’re extremely careful when it comes to ordering, so we were down to a very minimal amount of food.

What have your post-Sandy reopening efforts entailed?

We opened the doors on Thursday evening with candles and some friends at the bar. We only stayed open until 8:30PM and then, as soon as we shut the doors, we all left together. The city should not be unlit, and it was.

You could sense the angst as you walked the streets. Everybody looked un-showered, unclean, and really, really tired. And that’s when I started getting nervous.

Continue Reading