Diners were able to help restaurant owners in return
Business owners sometimes wonder what to do with all the food that will go to waste if a hurricane causes power to go out for days. Pascal and Tracey Pedaggi, of Absolutely CheeZee, thought of an answer, and it turned out to be a very rewarding experience at their unique restaurant at 1064 Ocean Shore Blvd., Ormond-by-the-Sea.
Expecting to lose power in Hurricane Dorian, the Pedaggis decided to give the food away. They announced on social media that meals would be free starting Saturday, Aug. 31.
“We decided to do something for the community,” Pascal Pedaggi said by phone afterward.
They had lost food in Hurricane Irma. Living in Palm Coast, it was hard to get back to their restaurant in the aftermath of the storm.
After serving 425 meals on Saturday, they were out of food at 7:30 p.m.
Pedaggi was not concerned if the hurricane turned away and did not interrupt power after all.
“It was a good thing all around,” he said. “It makes you feel good.”
While he was cooking, his wife, Tracey, was up front, and heard the many comments from the guests.
“It was vert heartwarming,” she said.
It became a bit emotional, also, as a few tears were shed in the dining room.
Pascal Pedaggi said they met many new people who had not been to the restaurant.
It turned out that some of the customers were able to help out the Pedaggis in return.
The couple run the restaurant themselves so could not leave the business to go buy supplies for hurricane preparation. Also, they don’t have a truck.
So, some of the neighbors pitched in and hauled wood to the restaurant and then helped them board up for Hurricane Dorian.
Pedaggi said they will reopen as soon as they can get food from their suppliers after the storm.
“We can’t afford to not be open,” he said.
The Pedaggis have operated Absolutely Cheezee for a year and eight months. They have taken 25 of their favorite sandwiches, such as Cuban and cheese steak, and turned them into grilled cheeses. They call it grilled cheese with a twist.
“We are glad we could give back to our community in this stressful time,” the Pedaggis said in a Faceboook post.
They accepted donations during the event and will continue to accept them to offset the cost. They have a Paypal account and can be reached on their Facebook page, Absolutely CheeZee or www.absolutelycheezee.com. Call 233-8910.
GRANADA PLAZA PREPARES
On Labor Day, most businesses in Granada Plaza, steps from the ocean, were either boarded up or the work was in progress. There was one busy location, however. Larry’s Giant Subs was full of people enjoying a meal.
Owner/operator Matt Long said he came to the store that morning not planning to open, but just to check on it. He noticed there was no other place open nearby, so he enlisted his mother, Carole, and daughter, Madison, to start serving sandwiches. He could be heard giving his mother instructions on using some of the equipment as hungry patrons moved down the line.
He said he would consider boarding up if the wind is predicted to reach 50 mph and did not know if he would open the next day.
Down the sidewalk, employees of the family-owned The Bikini Company were putting the final touches on boarding up. The store has operated in Ormond Beach since 1983, starting in The Trails Shopping Plaza and moving to Granada Plaza in 1989.
Louise Myers, whose parents started the business, said they had a lot of practice preparing for storms through the years. Her son, Clay, was busy installing plywood panels while being helped by store manager Jack Rabeaux.