Gianni Randazzo was cleaning up what was left of spoiled food at his restaurant, the Italian Street Brick Oven Pizzeria, on Sunday morning.
“We can’t open today because we have no dough, no supplies,” said Randazzo, 32, of Wildwood Crest, who has owned the Somers Point restaurant for the past year. “We can’t do anything.”
Following the early Saturday morning storm, the restaurant lost partial power about 1 p.m., and he said he lost about $6,000 worth of produce, meat and cheese. The pizzeria had just received a shipment of new food and supplies Thursday, Randazzo said.
As the region starts its third day with many still in the dark as a result of outages from the storm, businesses and schools on the mainland are struggling to return to normal.
Inside Randazzo’s pizzeria late Sunday morning — a time when the staff should be prepping for a busy afternoon and evening — the cleanup continued with the power still off and conditions hot and sticky.
Randazzo said he was able to save some food with a generator he brought into the restaurant, but the trash bin behind the pizzeria was full of black garbage bags with spoiled food.
The restaurateur, who came to the United States three years ago from Sicily, said during the past year he has worked hard to build a customer base and the pizzeria has become quite popular.
“Everyone loves it here,” Randazzo said. “I woke up this morning at 4:30 because I couldn’t sleep. I’m very nervous.”
Chuck Bangle, co-owner of Manco & Manco Pizza in Somers Point, was able to save his food when the power went out Saturday, he said.
The restaurant lost power from 1 a.m. until about 8 Saturday night, Bangle said.
“We lost two days of business, but we’re very fortunate,” he said, adding that the owner of the Philadelphia Water Ice company drove from Philadelphia to Somers Point to bring a refrigerated truck for him to use to store his perishables.
On Sunday morning, the staff at Manco & Manco were playing catch-up to make pizza dough. Bangle said the dough that was at the restaurant Saturday was transported to their Ocean City location to use.
“It’s just a bad time to lose business,” he said. “It’s the Fourth of July weekend, and everyone is on vacation.”
Still, Bangle said he was thankful food was all he lost.
“It could have been worse,” he said. “You can replace food, but you can’t replace lives.”
In Galloway Township, owners of the Smithville Inn had to cancel a wedding and a bridal shower at the restaurant due to the power loss.
“We really didn’t have any other options,” said owner Tony Coppola. “The bride got married, but there was no reception.”
Like other business owners in the region, Coppola said he spent the day cleaning up and throwing away spoiled food. Between the Smithville Inn and Fred and Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern, the storm cost Coppola two days of business.
“We probably lost upwards of $7,000 in food at Smithville Inn and $3,000 to $4,000 worth of food at Fred and Ethel’s,” he said.
Fred and Ethel’s reopened late Sunday afternoon with a limited menu, and the Smithville Inn is expected to reopen today, he said.
While some businesses suffered, others thrived. Local hotels that were able to keep their lights on or had their power restored later Saturday reported busier than usual volumes this weekend.
The Economy Motel in Somers Point lost power immediately after the storm, which prompted all guests to leave, manager Drew Patel said. But electricity was restored at 4 p.m. Saturday, which led the hotel to gain a new round of customers.
“They’re coming from everywhere,” Patel said of guests.
The Clarion Inn in Galloway Township never lost electricity through the storm, which kept the hotel busy all weekend, manager Sandra Brown said.
“We haven’t lost power, and we sold out three nights in a row,” she said.
Brown said the hotel also did not participate in any price gouging, keeping their typical summer weekend room rates, which were $109 for two queen beds and $119 for a king bed. While the weekend crowd was mostly out-of-towners, many of the guests staying Sunday were looking for respite from the heat and outages, Brown said.
“Tonight, it’s 90 percent local people,” she said.
The outages also affected school districts, with some canceling summer sessions due to the lack of power in their buildings.
Egg Harbor Township canceled all Monday district operations and summer programs, Superintendent Scott McCartney said.
“We’re trying to make an assessment for Tuesday,” he said.
Alder Avenue Middle School in Egg Harbor Township had power restored Sunday, but was designated a secondary cooling site for the community, McCartney said. Other school buildings remained without power Sunday afternoon, which prompted officials to cancel activities scheduled to start today.
That included programs for summer credit at Egg Harbor Township High School, student enrichment programs at Fernwood Avenue Middle School and summer programs at the Davenport Complex. Officials will decide today whether those programs will resume Tuesday, McCartney said.
At the same time, other districts were proceeding with their regular schedule, including Millville Public Schools.
“We’re going to be able to open,” Superintendent David Gentile said. “We have generators or power restored.”
Contact Donna Weaver:
Follow @DonnaKWeaver on Twitter
Contact Hoa Nguyen: