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Restaurants Start Reopening After Nearly Four Day Shutdown

Reported: Jan. 12, 2014 4:39 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 12, 2014 7:12 PM EST

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- Restaurants around Charleston were starting to reopen their doors Sunday, after a nearly four-day shutdown.

"It's pretty devastating," said Kelley Steele, the owner of Bluegrass Kitchen.

After West Virginia American Water issued a do-not-use advisory on Thursday, many eateries were forced to close their doors, which meant four days of no customers, no work and no money.

On Sunday, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department issued conditional approval for some restaurants to reopen.

One of those restaurants was the Bluegrass Kitchen and, while the East End restaurant may have a limited menu for the time being, they were open.

"They can eat. They can drink," Steele said. "They can't eat with real silverware or on real plates or out of a real glass, but, at this point, I just hope everyone's happy."

But not everyone was happy, because not every business had reopened.

Josh Pellior and his wife were driving through Charleston on their way home to Columbus.

"We're just coming back through, trying to get something to eat from North Carolina," Pellior said.

And when they went to Adelphia on Capitol Street, they realized there was no food to be served due to the chemical leak.

Adelphia owner Deno Stanley said the sports bar and grill is not serving anything until the Health Department gives them the go-ahead. But this closure had put quite the burden on Stanley.

"It's been pretty rough," he said. "My employees are just close to destitute about it, and we do have some perishables that are not going to hold up. I'd rather give it away before I'd let it go bad."

And as the region waited for all water to be fully restored, all restaurant owners and employees could really do was remain patient.

"We're all kind of in this together," Stanley said. "You know, we're in uncharted territories."

Stanley added he hopes everyone can learn from the incident and it won't be repeated in West Virginia or anywhere else in the country.

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