CINCINNATI - One month ago, employees had to use a canoe to get to the Hitching Post Restaurant after the Ohio River flooded the East End.
Now the Hitching Post is back in business. But some flooded businesses are not.
The Hitching Post was closed for two weeks during the flood and the cleanup, owner Judy Beck said.
Water rose about 3 feet inside, and it came up fast, she said. They were inside at 1:30 and four hours later they were driving through 14 inches of water.
But that was nothing compared to the Flood of 1997, Beck said.
"In '97, we had 7.5 feet," she remembered.
With help, she managed to save all the food and equipment before the river rose, she said.
"We took everything out of the kitchen. All the booths out. Everything we can move. Food. I have a commercial freezer in my garage,” Beck said.
Beck said she had plenty of help. That included her grandson, who was just a tyke during the '97 flood.
"You ate the donuts," she teased him.
"All the people that work here helped. The grandkids. Even him," Beck said.
Looking around the dining room, Beck said some things still needed to be replaced or repaired.
"All new woodwork. Tiles are all new. Cement board behind it. Paint is new,” Beck said. “That pass-through window had different spindles. All that has been repainted. The whole back was power washed.
“It takes awhile, but it's sort of a spring cleaning," she said.
Beck said the East End community has come together, helping each other as much as they can.
In New Richmond, Patrick Blair, who owns Olde Town Ice Cream Shop, is still trying to reopen.
“Itching to get back in here. Get things back to normal,” Blair said.
Blair said he and his son have been working tirelessly to get the shop in order. But there's more to be done.
“We have cabinets to put back. Machines to clean,” he said.
Blake said the past month has been a struggle. When the water receded, so did the help, he said.
“When the water was coming up, everyone was anxious to help, wanting to do what they could do,” Blair said. “Then the water went down. That’s kind of the end of it. Everyone thinks it’s down, it’s back to normal. That’s not the case.”
Blair hopes to open by April 1. He said he couldn’t have gotten this far without his son’s help.
“We’ve been working all weekend trying to get things moved back in,” Blair said. “We spent all last week painting and cleaning, replacing what needed to be replaced. Now it’s organizing and putting stuff back.”
Blair just wants everything back to normal.
“Put it past us and move forward,” he said.