Catch 22 restaurant owner Sammy Davis just can’t catch a break.
After waiting several months to get the permits he needed to open his new seafood restaurant in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a water main break on Wednesday opened up the road leading to it.
A large sinkhole formed around the break, and a driver ignored traffic cones and drove right into it. On top of the access difficulties, the eatery had no water. The restaurant would have to temporarily close in its second week of business while crews from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission did repairs.
“The restaurant was booming,” Davis said. “Our week started off great! Word must have gotten out. We did a lot on social media.”
The repair work was finished by late Thursday, WSSC spokesman Luis Maya said, but a giant detour sign surrounded by bright orange cones took drivers away from Osborne Road, where the restaurant sits.
“They were supposed to open the road up yesterday, but they [were] still working on it,” Davis said.
By Saturday, Davis was ready for it all to be done, but luck was not on his side. The same pipe burst again, this time in a different spot. The sign and cones would stay, the crews had more repair work to do — and Davis was out of water, again.
“It’s been a mess. We really needed Friday and Saturday business,” Davis said. “We’ve had to send half our staff home without pay, and that affects their bottom line. They’re calling constantly asking when they can come back in.”
The owner said he was sitting on an $11,000 Sysco truck delivery. While some of the items can be frozen, the restaurant largely serves perishable foods. He said the bill still has to be paid at the end of the week.
Davis said while his restaurant is supposed to be closed on Sundays, he’s thinking of opening it.
“I’m thinking of opening tomorrow, just to get some residual business, some default business — from losing basically the rest of the week.”
But on Saturday, Maya said there are no guarantees water service will be restored by Sunday.
“I don’t have a timeline for that repair. It will be several hours. Hard to say at this point, it’s early on in the repairs,” Maya said. “The cones and the detours are there for safety reasons. It’s a big water main.”
Davis said he’s frustrated with the county. First the delay in the permits, which he said took five months, then the lack of communication from county officials.
“Nobody from the county has come to talk to us or offer an apology,” Davis said. “I’m thinking of filing under a business interruption claim.”
“I don’t know. This county, man.”
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this story.