Rain on Rapture

Rain on Rapture

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that rumors of Rapture’s sale have been swirling about for some time, and in response, we said that restaurants are, in fact, almost always for sale for the right price. Catch a beleaguered proprietor at the right moment and with the right offer, and you’ve got yourself a deal. As it turns out, Mike Rodi, one of Rapture’s owners, tells us that Rapture is not on the table per se (although, he says, a few unsolicited offers came in after the rumors of its availability started to fly.) But if ever there was an opportunity to sweet talk Rodi into selling his enterprise, the night of July 5 might have been it. You may recall that a strong thunderstorm rolled in a little after 6pm that evening, causing much mayhem on the Mall. Several storm drains became overwhelmed in the downpour, and a stream of water was seen running down the newly bricked Third Street NE. The folks at Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes, Rapture’s neighbor across the alley, experienced some flooding through their door and walls and had to close early. Thankfully, they suffered no permanent damage. Rapture, however, had big problems. A pipe in the restaurant’s basement burst, and water came gushing out of the ceiling “like a fire hydrant,” says Rodi, who had to call 911 and was told by the fire department to evacuate everyone from the restaurant.

The opposite of Rapture: During a recent storm, Mike Rodi, one of the Downtown Mall restaurant’s owners, was told by the fire department to evacuate everyone after a pipe in the basement burst.

Rapture eventually reopened later that night (although the R2 dance club side of Rapture remained closed), but not before 25,000 gallons of water had to be pumped out of the basement and city inspector Darin Clements had to be called to the scene to declare the place safe. Rodi says the basement is used for storage and office space and that some inventory and equipment was destroyed in the flooding. Worse than that, though, was the loss of business. With the holiday weekend, Rodi estimates he may have suffered between $5,000 and $7,000 in lost revenue and compensation of customers forced to leave early. And if all of that wasn’t enough to make a restaurateur wish he’d picked another line of work, Rodi says that pipe isn’t even Rapture’s. “The pipe has nothing to do with us. It runs in and out of our building.”

City engineer Tony Edwards, who investigated the scene, says the pipe may have been carrying storm drainage, but it isn’t part of the city’s system either. In a voicemail to Restaurantarama, he said, “We are going to do some other things to try and help them and see if we can get a better determination on where the source of the water that goes through it [the pipe] is coming from. As of now we are looking at this as private property. And we are going to be focusing on the street and anything that can be done out there.”

What a mess. Lesser restaurant owners might be encouraged to skip town for the tropics. “So Rodi,” we asked again, “how about that rumor that Rapture is for sale?”

“Yeah, we have no immediate plans, but after this weekend,” he joked, “I don’t know!  If it is, though, I’m the last one to know.”

Another opening…

Perhaps you’ve noticed that a few café tables have taken up residence on South Street. Those belong to espresso and gelato shop Milano, which has settled into its new location in the pink building at 100 South St., along with its sister businesses from its old Main Street Market location: Verity Blue and Ecco Italy. In connection with the move, Milano has introduced an expanded menu, including waffles for breakfast, panini for lunch, Italian tea sandwiches served all day, and tiramisu and other desserts from the expert hands of Jenny Peterson at Paradox Pastry.

Also, Savour, the new Emmet Street spot that has been teasing us with its imminence for over a year now, finally opened this month.

Got some restaurant scoop? Send tips to restaurantarama@c-ville.com or call 817- 2749, Ext. 48.

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