It had to close for five months and nearly didn't survive, but a business affected by the East Village explosion is getting set to reopen Friday. NY1's Lori Chung filed the following report.
The owners of B&H Dairy are amazed that they're finally getting ready to reopen their restaurant after five long months out of business.
"For a while, I think this is not going to happen," said Fawzy Abdelwahed, owner of B&H Dairy.
The beloved East Village diner was forced to close after the deadly gas explosion that leveled three buildings in March. Their gas was shut off, and Abdelwahed and his wife Aleksandra said they faced hurdle after hurdle to get it turned back on.
"The restaurant's been in business for 76 years, and today, I feel like I'm opening a new restaurant because all the inspection, all that we have been through," Fawzy Abdelwahed said.
"It was very hard," Aleksandra Abdelwahed said. "Still, we have, of course, some updates, more, but so far, we can open the gates."
It's a milestone made possible by longtime customers and neighbors, who set up a crowdfunding account to keep the restaurant afloat.
"We've had some really great donors," said one person in the restaurant. "People giving hundreds, some people even gave thousands in one shot."
Some people are as excited as the owners to have the kosher diner back.
"I'm very happy. I'm happy for them, but I'm happy for me. Because this is my breakfast spot," said one patron.
"It's just wonderful that they're back, that they survived, that they managed to survive with no income," said another.
With the darkest days behind them, Abdelwahed is now relieved that his wife didn't listen to him several months ago when he was ready to give up.
"Since this happened, I explain to her, 'Let's go look for another job,'" he said. "She said, 'No way. This is our dream and we're going to fight for it.'"
The owners said their landlord was also instrumental in helping them get to this point by being patient about rent payments.
The restaurant expects to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, starting at 9 a.m.