Landmark Brigantine businesses rebuilt, reopened for summer business
Pictures told the tale of Brigantine's Laguna Grill in the days after Hurricane Sandy.
Photos posted to Facebook and Twitter showed how the beachfront location of the popular bar and restaurant put it in a bad spot when the storm arrived.
"What happened was the water just crashed through the whole beach bar and just destroyed it," said Tony Bruno, who co-owns the restaurant with Rip Reynolds. "There was water and sand by the inside bar, but the deck is totally gone. It's in pieces all over Brigantine Island."
Now, after about $400,000 in remodeling, work on the beachfront bar is just a few weeks from completion, Bruno said.
"We're about three-quarters of the way done," Bruno said. "We've totally remodeled the place, and we're open for business at the inside bar and main dining room - which also had water and sand damage."
Damage to businesses was scattered along the island, despite Brigantine being where the storm made landfall. The Pirate's Den, near the hard-hit northern end, was "never not operating," owner Tony Patalivo said. "We got calls up to last week (the first week of May) asking if we were repaired yet, and we never closed. That's the rumor, that Brigantine was demolished. We're in good shape. We just need people back."
Up the road at the North Point Marina, friends and family of owner Donna Vanzant, who lost more than $100,000 in inventory, helped reconstruct walkways and a picnic area. A pile driver was set to arrive to repair some of the docks. Employees started several weeks earlier than usual, and customers already are bringing their boats by for tune-ups.
"We are open and ready for 'em," Vanzant said. "Rebuild it and they'll come. Right?"