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New owners close restaurant after burst pipe

Marie Havenga • Feb 7, 2019 at 10:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — Customers leisurely sipped coffee like any other Saturday morning at the Idle Hour Restaurant in Spring Lake, until the water poured down.

“It was about 10 a.m.,” said Ronette Samdal, who purchased the restaurant with her husband, Jeramy, on Jan. 1. “We had a full restaurant. It was a busy Saturday. All of a sudden, half of the restaurant started raining and water was pouring down one of the walls. We were kind of stunned.”

But, nobody panicked.

“Immediately, staff comes out from the back and starts mopping it up and lets us kind of grasp what was going on,” Samdal said. “Customers stuck around to make sure we were OK.”

One customer even picked up the coffee pot and started refilling cups.

It's been a rough introduction to restaurant ownership for Ronette, who had worked at the Idle Hour off and on for two decades, and Jeramy, who formerly worked at Barrett Boat Works. But, like the water that poured from their ceiling Saturday, their positive attitudes reign.

“Thankfully, we were there,” she said. “If we wouldn't have been, it probably would have continued leaking.”

The Samdals purchased the restaurant from Cathy Harris and Sheri Wentlos. When the pipe burst, Wentlos, who still works there, called her husband to ask the location of the shut-off valve.

“It slowed the water way down,” Ronette said. “That's when we knew it had to be a burst pipe. At first, we were scared it was the roof. But, thankfully, it wasn't that.”

The restaurant closed at about 11 a.m. Saturday while the staff continued cleaning and the Samdals contacted their insurance agent. Because of many similar claims, the Samdals got put on a waiting list for a restoration company.

“My husband fixed the pipe and everything appeared OK,” Ronette said. “We turned the water back on and everything was good. We checked on it later and everything was still good.”

The next day, however, drips resurfaced.

“My husband crawled back up and saw that the pipe was still fixed, but he could see that the ceiling was kind of caving in the same area where it had been heavily raining down,” Ronette said. “It had been so saturated it started caving in.”

The restoration company worked on the restaurant all day Wednesday, replacing insulation and drywall.

The Samdals had hoped to reopen today, but the specialists found more damage that will delay the reopening until at least Friday.

“We're trying to keep everyone updated,” Ronette said Wednesday. “It's been a real bummer, especially for our (13) employees. They're counting on us. They helped when the disaster was happening. They did more than their part keeping it mopped up. But we kept them out of there until we knew for sure it was safe to walk around.”

Ronette said they have faith that all will be well.

“There's got to be good we expect coming out of this,” she said. “We just need to be patient. That's what we're called to do — be patient.”

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