(Update 2/16: Pacific Grill has reopened and is operating under normal business hours.)
It’s the stuff that restaurateurs have nightmares about – the restaurant is packed on the busiest night of the year and the power zaps, leaving diners in the dark. Last night, on Valentine’s Day, that happened to Tacoma’s Pacific Grill. The culprit for the power outage and the unintentional watery downpour into the Pacific Grill dining room? An overflowing bathtub from above. Pacific Grill is closed today to assess the damages, but the restaurant was expecting to reopen tomorrow, Feb. 16.
Pacific Grill’s Facebook page lit up last night with news of the flood and power outage. The restaurant posted this message to diners, “Well a leak (or a “waterfall”) from either the bank or hotel rooms above is not what you hope for on a BUSY Valentine’s night. We have part of the restaurant closed off. We hope all of our customers are understanding. (restaurants peeps: like this night can’t get more stressful !)”
Then, a message posted overnight from owner and Executive Chef Gordon Naccarato told followers that a Marriott hotel guest started his bath, then it overflowed into Union Bank, then Pacific Grill’s dining room.
Today, Naccarato provided more details by email as he was dealing with the damage. He said when the water began to pour into the dining room around 8 p.m., the restaurant was at capacity. “We couldn’t really move diners as the place was sold out. It was a nightmare.”
Then the unthinkable happened: “Then about an hour after the flood, it shorted out our electricity and the whole restaurant was plunged into darkness. So we couldn’t finish cooking and feeding the guests that were still there, the computers were down so we had to hand-compute tickets, the cash drawer wouldn’t open, etc. etc.”
The cleanup started late into the night. “We had to move all our food from the walk-in and freezer down to our Events Center walk-in and freezer. I wasn’t finished til 1:30 a.m.”
Despite all of that, Naccarato and crew still managed to serve 400 diners.
Naccarato was expecting a full house tonight, too, and estimates he will miss out on at least 200 diners. The good news is that he’s insured for business losses, he wrote by email.
Will the wood interior suffer damage? Naccarato said he wasn’t sure. “Too early to tell, but nothing seems ruined, per se. The carpet needs to dry. Hard to tell about any lasting water damage to the wooden ceiling. Hope not.”