by Peter Bodley
Burst water pipes have shut down Cityside Bar and Grill in Coon Rapids, but only temporarily.
Cityside opened at 133 Coon Rapids Blvd., where Paddy Wagon’s Irish Sports Pub was formerly located, Dec. 1, 2011.
But the morning of Saturday, Jan. 14 before the restaurant opened for the day, six water pipes burst in the loft area flooding the restaurant, including the kitchen area.
“We were open for six week and now we are closed for six weeks,” said Susan Neumann, who owns Cityside Bar and Grill with her sons, Jonathan Lietzau and Benjamin Lietzau.
According to Neumann, the burst water pipes were part of a compressor/refrigeration unit in a storage room in the loft area.
There was a vent from the unit in the roof, which malfunctioned, Neumann said.
The vent was defective, she said.
It took some time for the water from the burst pipes to be pumped out and the restaurant and kitchen areas to dry out, Neumann said.
And the damage from the water means that major renovation work is now taking place, she said.
“We have basically had to start from scratch,” Neumann said.
For example, all the carpeting has been ripped up and will be replaced, the refrigerator and freezer units in the kitchen have to be replaced and there will be new walls, too, she said.
In addition, environmental consultants have been brought in to make sure there are no moisture and mold problems from the flooding, Neumann said.
“The tables and chairs are OK,” she said.
According to Neumann, she has been leasing the restaurant space from the building owner and the owner’s insurance company is paying the cost of the renovation and repair work.
She also carries an insurance policy for the restaurant operations and that has been paying the salaries for her employees while the restaurant has been closed, Neumann said.
Cityside employs 34 people, almost all part-time but with two full-time, she said.
“As a result we have not had to lay off anyone,” Neumann said. “That has helped tremendously.”
“But I’m not sure how long they will continue to pay.”
The goal is to have Cityside Bar and Grill back open by the end of the month.
And when the restaurant is back open, Neumann hopes that the community support for the business that was evident during the six weeks it was open continues, she said.
“Business was growing every day and we were packing them in,” Neumann said. “It was amazing.”
And when Cityside Bar and Grill does re-open, Neumann said it will be “bigger and better.”
Paddy Wagon’s closed at the location Oct. 31, 2011 and Neumann and her sons spent November painting, putting in new carpeting and scrubbing the inside of the restaurant as well as addressing code compliance issues for the city of Coon Rapids Building Inspection Department and Anoka County Health Department, according to Neumann in an interview before the restaurant opened Dec. 1.
Cityside’s menu features burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads plus entrees that include meat, fish and pastas as well as a Sunday brunch.
But it also boasts signature sandwiches, called Cityside Signatures from Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Des Moines, Iowa; Washington, DC.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Minneapolis.
Besides food, Cityside also offered entertainment, both comedy shows and live music.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]