B&H Dairy Back Open Five Months After East Village Explosion

A beloved kosher diner in the East Village, B&H Dairy, reopened on Friday, five months after a deadly explosion leveled three buildings on the block. NY1's Michael Scotto was there as customers returned to get their Challah fix.

They started lining up at around 8:30 a.m.

"He knows that whatever I order he gives me French toast," said one woman in line at B&H Dairy.

Thinking about all that delicious challah bread they hadn't eaten in months.

"Oh, Geez, I had to do a lot of cooking at home and it wasn't that good," said another woman.

Inside, the long-time workers were firing up the griddle and anxiously preparing to get back to work after the East Village Explosion in late March forced B&H Dairy to shut its doors.

"I can't sleep all night," said Mike Tarabih, employee at B&H Dairy. "I just wait for this day."

At around 9:30 a.m., the place officially reopened and the regulars filed in for their favorite dishes.

"I got the first meal," said one man. "Yeah!"

The Kosher diner has been a fixture in this neighborhood for 73 years. It wasn't damaged when the explosion leveled three buildings just down the block but its gas was shut off.

In order for the doors here to reopen, the owner had to make a number of necessary upgrades to his store but those improvements were made even worse by all the red tape he had to cut through.

For the elated owner, Fawzy Abdelwahed the day couldn't come soon enough. During the shutdown he racked up tens of thousands of dollars in expenses. Donations from long-time customers eased the pain, but he feared he might have to close.

"For a while I just hope and thank God we're now back in business," said Abdelwahed.

And that's good news for B&H regulars who see it as one of the last great family-run diners in a city that is becoming more and more corporate. B&H is New York in every way -- a Kosher restaurant owned by an Egyptian and staffed by a United Nations of workers. For one patron, this place is better than family.

"Relatives you got to run from," said one diner. "These are the people you run to."

As morning wore on, people kept running to B&H Dairy.

"It's dreamy," said another diner.

Some were already thinking about coming back in just a few hours for dinner. 

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