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Community rallies to help Bistro 501 through flood damage

After 20 years of business, Bistro 501 in downtown Lafayette is temporarily closed due to flooding in the kitchen.

Posted: Jun 13, 2019 4:27 PM
Updated: Jun 13, 2019 6:34 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Bistro 501 has been closed for weeks due to storm damage on the kitchen roof.

"It was a rough morning," said owner Theresa Buckley. She was describing what happened on May 26. Then she explained how things got even worse. 

"They started trying to work on it and then it rained again, re-flooded the kitchen," said Buckley. "So, we had two floods in the kitchen."

Bistro 501 is the first floor of a four story building however, above the kitchen area, the building breaks and there is a roof. It allows for venting. The restaurant won't be able to open back up until this small kitchen roof is repaired.

"Conservatively July 1 if everything goes well," said Buckley. "But I think most people know how these construction projects go."

Theresa's mother, Mary Buckley "symbolically" still owns Bistro 501, according to Theresa.

"Seeing this damage and seeing this closure has really been heartbreaking," said Mary Buckley. 

Something like this can easily put a restaurant out of business.

"The damage assessed is going to be close to 100 thousand dollars," said Theresa. "Not including the repairs to the roof, the building repairs, we don't know that expense because it is not on our plate to fix that."

"Every day we are closed it gets harder," added Mary. 

After some storms, there's a rainbow and for Bistro 501 that rainbow came from the community.

"With each day getting harder, then comes the phone call, or the stop in, or the flowers from Roth Florist who is allowing us to use their walk-in if we need it," said Mary. 

"The local restaurants, Digby's, Knickerbocker and the Fowler House Mansion on 9th Street have given our staff work, have let us use their kitchen if we need to do the lobster bake we just had," said Theresa. 

Digby's owner Mike Felt didn't hesitate to help.

"I think downtown is actually more of a family than competition," said Felt. "Anybody in downtown, if they know any personal business owner or manager, we kind of all play nice together. It's like a cup of sugar club."

It's because of that support Bistro 501 owners can confidently say, they'll be back.

"We are here to stay and a little water is not going to keep us down," said Mary Buckley. 

If you would like to stay on top of the repair process, follow Bistro 501 on Facebook. 

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