Restaurant closed since East Village explosion reopens for business

ByRenee Stoll WABC logo
Friday, August 14, 2015

EAST VILLAGE (WABC) -- There was a celebration Friday in the East Village as a beloved restaurant reopened after a five-month hiatus.

B $ H Dairy has been a staple in the neighborhood for more than seven decades, but it's been shut down since March because of the deadly gas explosion in the East Village.

Loyal customers have been anxiously waiting for its return.

"We've been waiting every day for the re-opening, checking the Facebook page and coming by," said customer Margaret Lee.

As the sign on the door says, they're finally open again.

"I cannot believe, still today that like we are open for business," said the owner, Fawzy Abdelwahed.

B & H Dairy, open for 73 years, had to close its doors after the gas explosion that killed two people and leveled 3 buildings. It also left the restaurant with no gas.

"We don't know are we going to open, are we not going to open," said Abdelwahed.

Owners Fawzy and Ola Abdelwahed waited and waited to have the gas turned back on. But in the meantime bills had to be paid.

With help from the community's crowd funding website, they're back in business with a line out the door.

"You know first time in my life I really missed my job, we always fight for one day off and now we say that's it, we're not going to take off for a year you know," said Ola.

You'll find the same menu and all the same faces as before.

"You get to know the people who work here and you really care about their well-being," said customer Diana Egizi.

It was standing room only as the restaurant reopened.

"We were so happy to see all the tables full, so we got takeout," said customer Karla Murrey.

To those in the neighborhood, B & H Dairy symbolizes restaurants that are now hard to find.

"We're happy to have this here because it just preserves the flavor of the neighborhood," said Murray.