Jeff Ruby Waterfront restaurant barge takes on water, sinks into Ohio River

HEBRON, Ky. -- In June, Jeff Ruby thought he was done with his years-long woes involving the Waterfront Restaurant in Covington.

"It's sexy to dine at a floating restaurant, but it's not safe sex," Ruby said at the time.  "We've been hit by runaway barges. We've been hit by a runaway iceberg. We've sunk, and we've had other things, too. It's time to say, 'Enough is enough.' "

A new Waterfront would be built on land near the Roebling Bridge in Covington, the popular restaurateur announced. Months earlier, in February, Ruby had the once popular eatery towed down the Ohio River to Hebron, Ky. for repair.

Then came Ruby's Tweet early Tuesday morning about the familiar looking barge listing in the river.

RELATED: Waterfront restaurant towed to Hebron marina after breaking free and hitting bridge

"Just another day in paradigm," Ruby stated.

The restaurant was taking on water, again. And again, crews were working frantically to secure it and debris from floating down stream.

The Waterfront continued to take on water throughout Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy Katie Stenger

RELATED: Ruby abandons river, plans to open brand new Waterfront restaurant on land in Covington

Ruby's Waterfront headache began in 2011, when the fine dining eatery came unmoored the first time with about 150 customers and staff aboard. Emergency crews swarmed around the boat that became lodged against the nearby Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

RELATED: Waterfront restaurant breaks free from dock with patrons on board

Tow boats, and the bridge, kept the barge in place as  ladders and ropes were used to evacuate the restaurant.

"I wanted all the guests to come off," Ruby said at the time. "I wanted to be there to talk to the guests to see if they were all okay. When I got here, I knew everybody was safe and now I wanna go on and just apologize to them."

It took days for the restaurant to be moored back in place. The Waterfront would never have customers again after an engineer's survey made recommendations for needed improvements.

And then came flooding, negotiations with Covington administrators to help pay for the restaurant's reopening,  and the second unmooring in February caused by ice chunks in the river that prompted the move to Boone County.

"It was profitable for a long time, but it turned into a non-profit company," Ruby said of his river venture. "It's a big loss. But you take your lumps. God's been good to me. The city's been good to me. I'm lucky to be alive. That's just money."

Even after its move, the Waterfront made more headlines, and delivered Ruby another lump when it was hit by a crane barge on June 26. The damage was minor.

Then came Tuesday, and a reminder for Ruby that his violet colored headache wasn't gone yet as orange booms were deployed to contain the Waterfront and act as a warning to boaters in the area.

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