Whether it was by flooding, displaced employees, power, fuel and supply disruptions or curfews, Hurricane Harvey affected businesses across the county — some obviously more than others. In the middle of their own storm recovery efforts — personal and professional — many business owners were serving food to first responders, helping each other and people in the community. Here are some highlights:
BBQ, beer, chandeliers: There’s good news for fans of Dickinson Bar-B-Que & Steakhouse, 2111 FM 517. But the bad news first: Dickinson Bar-B-Que took in about 3 feet of water and could be closed for several months, said Keith Lilley, who with his wife, Holly, owns that restaurant and newly opened restaurant and bar concept Marais, 2015 FM 517, next door.
The Lilleys on Friday began “co-blending” Marais and Dickinson Bar-B-Que menus for lunch and dinner. Marais is open serving Dickinson Bar-B-Que fare, including, barbecue, hamburgers and chicken-fried steaks, along with some Marais lunch specials, such as Creole couscous and more. The restaurants also will blend menus for dinner.
“I just saw something I’ve never seen before,” Lilley said. “Someone was having a sliced brisket sandwich, potato salad and a margarita.”
Holly Lilley calls it “barbecue, beer and chandeliers,” referring to Marais’ more upscale venue and Dickinson Bar-B-Que’s more casual atmosphere. The Lilleys wanted to keep their Dickinson Bar-B-Que employees working as they repair the restaurant, they said. When those employees arrived and saw the damage to the restaurant, the looks on their faces said it all, Lilley said.
“For me, it boiled down to: we had a viable restaurant and then I had long-term employees who had worked for us eight to 10 years … and the looks on their faces … they were wondering what was going to happen,” Keith Lilley said.
Flooding from Harvey severely damaged employees’ homes, Lilley said.
“The engine of recovery is income,” Lilley said. “You can’t replace things without money. So, at that moment, we pulled managers inside and I said, “I have to have this restaurant open by Friday. This is Labor Day weekend. We’re selling barbecue in a place that has chandeliers.”
Marais, which opened earlier this year, was built at a higher elevation and only its Plank Bar on the lower floor took in some water, but will return in about a week. Marais is a multi-concept venue with several bars and is still serving alcohol.
“Our overriding mantra is to retain our employees and support our communities,” he said.
Serving others: Through it all, Marais and Dickinson Bar-B-Que, along with TopWater Grill, 815 Ave. O in San Leon, and Mexican food restaurant La Brisa, which has locations in Bacliff and League City, also pitched in to help feed first responders who worked tirelessly to rescue people from high water during Harvey, Lilley said.
A boatload of help: During the storm, Friendswood city officials issued an urgent plea for medical supplies, medical equipment and trained personnel at Friendswood High School, where residents evacuated from a nursing home were being sheltered.
The elderly residents were transported to the high school before they could round up their medications.
K.D. Modi, who with his wife, Ami, owns Edgewood Pharmacy, was one of many who answered the call. But severe flooding was an obstacle. Modi tried to get to his pharmacy on Monday, but floodwater was too high. He kept trying and by Tuesday was able to reach his pharmacy, 120 S. Friendswood Drive, to get much needed medication for such ailments as high blood pressure and heart problems.
His wife, who works at Bay Area Regional Hospital, also helped to get medications he didn’t have. Volunteers helped Modi reach Friendswood High School by boat. Modi downplayed his role in the heroic effort.
“There were so many amazing people,” Modi said. “We just played a minuscule part. We opened in January and the community has been so supportive, it was a small thing to do to pay the community back.”
Still cooking: The highly popular mainland restaurant Kelley’s Country Kitchen, 4604 Interstate 45, in La Marque, has reopened and owners were working to reopen Kelley’s in League City, 1502 W. Main St., as quickly as possible.
Coffee mates: Although the island didn’t experience the severe flooding the mainland did during Harvey, the storm did send some water into buildings, particularly in downtown and enough to disrupt operations. Holly Hopkins, owner of Mod Coffeehouse, 2126 Postoffice St., on Friday said she was optimistic the popular hangout would return sometime next week. Hopkins said a quick return was possible because of all the help she has received.
“We’re optimistic due to the outpouring of support in our community and the Mod Squad and from HomeLife Builders,” Hopkins said.
Mosquito Café, 628 14th St., on the island’s East End, also took in some water. But as soon as owners James Clark and family cleaned up and reopened their own restaurant, they brought their Shop-Vac to Mod and helped crews there cleanup, Hopkins said. Stories about businesses helping businesses continued to circulate throughout the county.
On Friday, downtown island restaurant Rudy & Paco, 2028 Postoffice St., was working to clean up from water in the building and to reopen.