Six months after a kitchen fire forced South Beach restaurant Puerto Sagua to close, the Cuban eatery reopened its doors Monday.
In the evening, it looked like the popular mom-and-pop place hadn’t missed a beat. Regulars returned and tourists wandered in, dining on Cuban cuisine and sipping cortaditos at the counter.
Around 9:30 p.m., co-owner David Rivero stopped to look around at hungry diners and a bustling wait staff with a sense of relief.
“You worry,” he said during a free moment. “You worry after six months whether they are going to come back.”
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Rivero estimated the kitchen fire early July 31, which sparked overnight when no one was there and was likely due to bad gas line, caused about $150,000 worth of damage.
He said he put in many 12- to 14-hour days to get the restaurant ready to reopen. While management took the opportunity to make a few other improvements on the to-do list, like rearranging some equipment and renovating the bathrooms, Rivero would’ve preferred to be running a busy restaurant during the past six months.
“A forced vacation is not nice,” he said.