Weather permitting, Landing looks toward a spring opening

The Landing Restaurant has been closed for the past two months after being damaged by back-to-back floods. (Owen O'Rourke)

MARBLEHEAD — Owners of a seaside restaurant were left wading in the water after being hit by high tides and coastal storms this winter, but now they’re finding a silver lining.

The Landing Restaurant, which has been closed for the past two months after back-to-back flooding problems, is raising the bar with plans to reopen.

The nightmare started when the high tide came through the floor of the restaurant on Jan. 4. Less than a week later, a pipe burst in the attic and soaked through three floors.
General Manager Robert Simonelli described less-than ideal conditions during last week’s storms with water flowing through the building and gushing from the front door. He was nervous about the storm Monday night, but grateful a moderate or severe flood advisory wasn’t issued.

“These last couple of storms just made us readdress what we’re doing in the floor in the dining room,” said Simonelli. “It’s an old floor, so we’re putting a more solid base on it so that it doesn’t flip up anymore. We still have hatches to relieve the pressure.”

While Simonelli is still waiting to hear back from the insurance company about the amount of damage done to the property, he’s moving ahead with plans to bring The Landing back with a new look.

A second bar will be added to the back room, overlooking the sea. The existing pub area will be repaired and restored, said Simonelli. He expects customers will be slurping oysters in seven to eight weeks.

“I have to say because we had to readdress what we’re doing in The Ocean Room with the last storm, it set us back about another week,” he said.

At the beginning of the year, a storm surge combined with astronomically high tides led to record amounts of flooding across the North Shore. The Landing, which has experienced more minor coastal flooding in the past, took in feet of water.

The floors were torn up by the fearsome tide and the swell of ocean waves, allowing saltwater to spray throughout the restaurant. Floor boards, which rose and fell with each ebb and flow of the seawater, were replaced the following afternoon and the pub and dining room reopened that Saturday.

But as customers packed in to support the restaurant for Sunday brunch, water began to fall from the ceiling fixtures and one regular customer exclaimed that it was raining inside, said Simonelli.

An inspector immediately ordered all electricity turned off, and a sprinkler technician told Simonelli the burst pipe lost about 40 gallons during each of the 8 to 10 minutes it was spewing water.

About $24,000 worth of food was lost between the submerged prep area and the loss of electricity from refrigeration units.

The water soaked through three floors of the building, and left owners with no option but to close. The crew is still waiting to hear back from its insurance agency for repair estimates, he said, and more than 30 employees are temporarily out of work. Neighboring businesses hosted a fundraiser to supply each employee with a paycheck for three weeks.

Construction of the new bar is expected to begin next week.


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