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.”
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.