7 On Your Side: NYC restaurant loses weekend of business over untimely gas inspection

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- A New York City restaurant owner was left confused and frustrated after an untimely gas inspection cost her an entire weekend's worth of business.

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda stepped in to help after a Friday afternoon gas inspection left Telly's Taverna owner Dianna Loiselle in tears.

"Oh my God was I crying," she said. "I could not stop crying beacuse I was so embarrassed. I had customers here. They were waiting for their food. And he said I have to turn off the gas. The fish was on the grill."

On Friday, January 21, Loiselle said she was in panic mode after a subcontractor hired by Con Edison showed up for a random inspection of the Astoria restaurant's gas pipes.

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He said a slight leak was detected, which led ConEd to turn off the gas to the entire building. The grill went cold, and so did the tenants upstairs. The eatery emptied.

"On a Friday afternoon, they're going to go to restaurants to do this supposed test?" Loiselle said. "Why weren't they here the Monday before?"

Loiselle runs the family restaurant that has been open for 30 years and helped turn it into an Astoria destination that was even meantioned on "Jeopardy!"

Like so many other restaurants, Telly's had weathered more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic -- and last weekend was set to be their biggest comeback from COVID.

"We had so many reservations, Saturday reseveation," she said. "We had a party booked for Saturday morning, Sunday morning and Monday morning...Thousands of dollars of meat, thousands of dollars of vegetables, all of this is fresh and it all comes Friday afternoon."

Even though Loiselle's plumber was able to do an emergency fix on the gas leak right away, he wasn't able to file the paperwork until Monday.

"He was under the impression that he could just fix it and they would turn the gas back on," she sad. "No, Con Edison said no."

The emergency work notice should have sufficed so the utility could have come to re-inspect immediately. But instead, Loiselle says she got confusion.

"Everybody was saying something different," she said. "It's very painful. It's not about the money, I have so many employees, so many families depend on being at work all week."

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Eyewitness News Reporter Lauren Glassberg, who had covered Telly's for her Neighborhood Eats series, saw Loiselle's cry for help on social media and alerted 7 On Your Side.

When we contacted ConEd, the utility said it was already working on getting the restaurant inspected again.

Within hours of our emails and calls, the old meter that ConEd said caused the leak was replaced, and the restaurant was allowed to reopen.

"Thank you, thank you so much," she said. "Thank you, Lauren Glassberg. Thank you, 7 On Your Side."

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