Five months after frost, popular local restaurant reopens with new recipes

WACO, TX (KWTX) – Popular downtown Waco Olive branch reopened, nearly five months to the day after it was forced to close following the historic February freeze that burst pipes, flooding the restaurant and causing massive damage.

“It was so great to see our customers this week and to be able to shake our necks and say hello to everyone,” said owner Leah Stewart, who opened the restaurant in 2003.

“We would love to see everyone come out.

“We want to show off this wonderful new space and we are delighted to be open again,” she said.

Leah and her business partner, Michael Carney, took advantage of the unexpected hiatus to find a way to extend the restaurant‘s opening hours, which now include Sunday dinner and brunch with wine, beer and mimosas. .

“Michael and our other chef Ray Silva took time while we were closed to write new recipes and create new appetizers and menu items,” she said.

The restaurant, next to Spice Village and Ninfa’s Restaurant, closed on February 14 as the freezing winter storm began to tighten its grip on central Texas.

Three days later, on February 17, Leah went to check the restaurant and found it in ruins.

She recorded her reaction on her cell phone as she examined the damage.

“We have water flowing from the ceiling,” she said, as she walked in shock through the stagnant water.

“The water has been cut off. It’s still raining.

Stewart says the hoses to the fire extinguisher system on the third floor above his restaurant burst, leaving nothing intact, including tables, equipment, floors and walls.

“We entered four inches of standing water on Wednesday morning. All of our plasterboard was wet, it was on fire. All of our wooden floors were soaked and we were completely devastated, ”she said.

Since then, Leah and Michael have worked tirelessly to bring the restaurant up to standard.

Leah said that with a lot of hard work from the employees, a supportive building owner, an insurance company, and good construction crews, the restaurant is back and better than ever.

Spice Village, the popular shopping spot right above the olive branch, was also heavily damaged by water from the burst pipes.

The store has been moved to a temporary space at 924 Austin Ave. where it will stay while the remodeling is in progress.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.

About Walter Bartholomew

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