Cullen Wallace, co-owner of Bennett’s Creek Restaurant, takes a break inside the dining room on Wednesday, as others behind him continue working toward a May 8 reopening. The restaurant has been closed since Hurricane Sandy at the end of October.
Cullen Wallace, co-owner of Bennett’s Creek Restaurant, takes a break inside the dining room on Wednesday, as others behind him continue working toward a May 8 reopening. The restaurant has been closed since Hurricane Sandy at the end of October.

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Bennett’s Creek eatery to reopen

Published 10:37pm Friday, April 26, 2013

The scene at Bennett’s Creek Restaurant and Marina this past week was a far cry from Oct. 28, when Hurricane Sandy turned the building into a watery mess.

With the morning tide, the Nansemond River rose up the walls, leaving a little more than two feet of water in the dining room.

Now, with workers painting, stocking the kitchen and getting ready to lay fresh carpet, the eatery is planning to reopen on May 8.

“Immediately after the hurricane, we ripped up the carpet and cleaned the place up and checked all the equipment,” restaurant manager Chuck Wilson said.

“Two days prior, we knew it was coming, so we (had) basically stripped the restaurant.”

The process is a familiar one for the low-lying restaurant, which Wilson recalled has needed to reopen after several previous storms, including Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and a later nor’easter.

“There is no getting around it,” he said. “It’s just the way of life. We hope and pray nothing ever happens, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The seafood and steak restaurant’s six-month closure left many folks wondering whether it would ever reopen.

“We had a lot of phone calls,” Wilson said. “Being off the beaten path, we have a lot of repeat business.”

The reopening falls on a Wednesday, and the restaurant plans to celebrate with an all-you-can-eat shrimp and snow crab legs special from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that day.

“We expect a big turnout to our grand opening,” Wilson said.

The restaurant will also start serving breakfast, from 7 to 11 a.m. on Sundays, including on Mother’s Day, he said.

In the meantime, he continued, new carpet and organizing the kitchen are the main tasks left.

“We’re basically ready to go. There’re just a few last-minute details.”

Hiring new staff has also been underway. “We are always interviewing,” Wilson said.

After the restaurant reopens, the next plan is to reopen the marina slips before fall.

Co-owner Cullen Wallace cited a slogan the restaurant has lately adopted: “Rain or shine the tides will rise. Flood or drought, Bennett’s Creek marina will stand — no doubt!”

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