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Cost of being closed due to flood adding up for Evandy’s Boatel

Imagine having the flood take away your job– that’s the reality for the around 50 employees at Evandy’s Boatel in Naples Illinois.

While he restaurant itself is fine, it’s surrounded by six feet of water, making it impossible to get people in and out for anything. The owner said this time of year they’re usually hosting events that draw hundreds to eat and drink at their outdoor space under the restaurant, but that hasn’t happened since the flooding started.

Evandy’s Boatel owner Eric Vangundy, and his son Austin have been checking on the restaurant every few days. Austin said he helps out when the restaurant is open, and usually the chairs are full.

“[It’s] busy, very very busy,” said Austin, adding that the reservation book is usually full of names, but since May 5th, it’s been blank, “whenever I’m working at the hostess station it’s a big rush trying to get everyone in and out.”

With everything basically ready to go besides the decor still up from Easter, Eric said they just need the water to go down, something he doesn’t see happening soon.

“If we’re closed for two more weeks it’ll be the longest time we’ve been closed,” said Eric, adding that without those big crowds coming out on the weekends, he’s already missed around a third of the seasons’ business, and it’s not money that will come back

“It’s starting to add up because the summer time is your busy time […] in round numbers we’ve easily lost over a $100,000 in revenue,”

Eric said he’s still getting calls about reservations, and doesn’t know when he can tell people they’ll be open again. He said it’s something he wishes his insurance could help with.

“We have insurance but insurance does not cover loss of use or loss of income, it only covers structural damage, well it’s built to withstand flooding so there’s no structural damage so loss of income is the big thing,” said Eric.

According to Eric, the water at the restaurant is about six inches below the record crest from 2015, when they were closed for six weeks. He said this year’s flood will be more damaging than the one in 2015 however because they’ve missed more big holidays that draw out customers.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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