Devastated LBI Landmark Re-Opens - New York News

Devastated LBI Landmark Re-Opens

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A waiter takes an order at Chicken or the Egg in Long Beach Island. The popular restaurant reopened Monday after being damaged by Sandy. A waiter takes an order at Chicken or the Egg in Long Beach Island. The popular restaurant reopened Monday after being damaged by Sandy.
Long Beach Island, NJ -

Another sign the Jersey shore is getting back to normal - An iconic restaurant that flooded during Sandy re-opened its doors Monday.

The unofficial start of summer is still eight weeks away. But the sidewalk outside the Chicken or the Egg on Long Beach Island is packed. "This is one of the landmarks of LBI, you know?" Tom Baldwin told Fox 29, as he waited outside for a table. The restaurant almost didn't survive the super storm, which devastated Long Beach Island last October. More than five months later, it's clear as you drive south on Bay Avenue, the recovery is still far from complete. "We drove all the way down to the end of the island, through Holgate, and there's so much damage still," Judy Baldwin, a longtime LBI vacationer, explained.

Inside the restaurant, a piece of tape almost three feet up off the floor marks the water line after the storm, giving you an idea how bad it got in here. "It was just one big mess," Brian McCloskey said. "Everything was piled up. It was like the tide came in, picked everything up and took it all back out again." His brother Brett agreed. "There was a mountain of trash. You couldn't even see the front of the store."

The McCloskey brothers own a construction company, and worked hard to repair the damage so the restaurant could re-open by April first. They're like rock stars now as they walk through "The Chicken and the Egg," meeting and greeting grateful customers. But no one was certain they could meet that deadline. "We didn't think it was ever gonna get cleaned up and just to see all the other houses that are still not done," Brett McCloskey told Fox 29. "They're saying the island's going to be 80, 90 percent. It's hard to say." But that uncertainty evaporates when you walk into "The Chicken or the Egg." The flow of people was non-stop during the lunch hour, with customers waiting up to an hour for a table.

"I have to say this morning when I walked in, I cried for the first 10 minutes, for the first 15 minutes," Restaurant Co-Owner Shaun Cohen said. "It was very overwhelming. It's been a long winter." It is only a restaurant re-opening, the same way Sandy was only a storm. "We live here," Patti Greenwood of Manahawkin tried to explain. "My parents lost things, you know, so many people lost stuff. It's not just a storm to us. But this thing's opening, it makes it better."

Shaun Cohen put it this way: "There's hope... definite hope." Late Monday afternoon, the wait for a table was up to an hour-and-a-half.

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