ATLANTIC CITY — Johnny Exadaktilos hopped out of a Ford F-350 truck with a plow attached to the front and walked right to the kitchen of Ducktown Tavern.
He started his day at 5 a.m., clearing parking lots and neighborhood streets — a side job to owning the 24-hour neighborhood bar.
“This job is 24/7,” Exadaktilos said about running the tavern at Atlantic and Georgia avenues.
The Ducktown is known for being open when the rest of the city seems closed. There was no question Exadaktilos would keep the bar open during Thursday’s winter storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on the city, just as he stayed open during the derecho storm in June 2012 and Hurricane Sandy later that year.
“We never close. We have to stay open,” he said.
A massive winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on much of South Jersey on Thursday, …
Nothing really mandates the tavern stay open, except Exadaktilos’ drive to provide for his customers.
“Whether there’s 100 people or just one in here, if someone wants to get out of the weather, they can always come here for a drink and food,” he said.
With his plow, Exadaktilos was able to staff the bar, picking up bartender Sally McGettigan, who was ready to work a full shift.
“Last time, I told Johnny that I don’t own a shovel, so I texted him my address and his plow was on my street,” McGettigan said.
“We don’t force anyone to come in. We have a great staff that wants to come in and see the die-hards who come out and try to plow the roads, salt and make it safe for everyone,” Exadaktilos said.
Several South Jersey schools, government bodies and other services may be delayed or closure…
By 2 p.m., the Ducktown had a good-sized crowd ordering hot lunches and getting out of the bad weather. Contracted snow plowers Mike McKenna, Steve Allen and Wayne Mangold ate at the Ducktown for lunch before heading out to another customer call.
“We’ll be out all night” Mangold said.
Exadaktilos said that’s the reason the Ducktown stays open 24 hours, accommodating everyone from shift workers to city neighbors.
Several trays of wings and sandwiches appeared in the order window, which Exadaktilos took back to his truck to make a personal delivery.
He said he spent a portion of his morning helping plow Atlantic City Fire Station No. 4.
“You gotta make sure our guys stay healthy and good to go for any of these emergency calls,” he said.
Exadaktilos himself seems to run 24 hours, as he planned to spend the rest of his day in his truck, plowing parking lots and area businesses.
“I enjoy plowing snow,” he said. “It’s like my yoga.”