With many businesses around Vermont continuing to be affected by the storm, we checked in with Justin Dain from Oakes & Evelyn in the heart of Montpelier, which was badly damaged by flooding.
1: Tell us a little about you and your team:
The dream of opening my own restaurant began many years ago, but became more of a reality during Covid when it gave me the opportunity to do extensive research and planning. We opened in February 2021, and my team is AMAZING! We have such an amazing team in the back-of-house and front-of-house we would not be able to bounce back without their love and dedication to O&E. They have continually opened my eyes of what love for a craft really is day in and day out, and me and my family thanks them from the bottom of our hearts.
2: What flood damage did your business have?
We lost EVERYTHING in the restaurant: refrigeration, walk-in cooler/freezer, tables, chairs, floors, walls, pasta machines, mixers, cryovac, all small electrical kitchen/ front of the house equipment; everything from five feet in the restaurant all the way down to the basement. The restaurant is currently gutted and being evaluated on where we pivot next to open as soon as possible.
3: What do the next steps look like?
The next steps are very open at the moment - we are pushing funding as we want to open back up in our original location and cook for this community. My team, wife, and children have been AMAZING through this. Honestly, they have been my rock to keep being positive and look towards a brighter future. This moment in life is heartbreaking and tests our limits minute by minute! Mental health is something everyone needs to check and seek help if needed. It’s such a struggle with what is going on and can affect others differently. At this time, we are ready to purchase new equipment, tables, and chairs. We are coordinating with the construction so we are moving in a positive direction.
4: Would you like to highlight any individual or organization that’s been helping with cleanup or recovery efforts?
My chef Amanda and her significant other Jesse have been awesome, up every day since the flooding taking care of the day-to-day clean up and organizing the process. Cassy Pugh & Patrick Cassidy have also crushed it with organization, demolition and cleaning up. Rachael Cormicle has been up, starting with the clean-up and helping us get ready for re-opening! All the back-of-house line cooks, dishwashers, Front-of -House servers, hosts etc. have helped out in more ways to count!