MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Adam's Mountain Café reopened its doors Thursday for the first time since a flash flood earlier this month.
The restaurant, on Manitou Avenue, is a community cornerstone, but its location was bad news during the summer's flood. During heavy rain on July 1 and Aug. 9, flash flood water carrying mud and debris from William's Canyon flew down Canon Avenue and crashed into its building.
July's flood shut down the restaurant's patio for two days. August's flood shut down the restaurant for three weeks. During August's flood, a beam crashed through its side door and sent a tidal wave of muddy water and debris into the restaurant. It took dozens of volunteers and hundreds of hours of work to shovel out mud, clean off equipment and reassemble the restaurant.
Adam's Mountain Café and its neighboring business, D'Vine Wine, were the last businesses impacted by floods to reopen.
On Thursday, the restaurant's staff witnessed a different type of flood through the café's doors. Hungry customers streamed in the minute its doors opened at 8 a.m.
Natalie Johnson and Laurie Wood got to the restaurant an hour before it reopened to stake out their spot in the front of the line. Johnson and Wood helped organize the influx of volunteers in the wake of Aug. 9's flood. The café's owner, Farley McMcDonough, credits volunteers for their help in getting her business open.
"This is, for me, kind of an exciting moment. This is the final piece of the puzzle. I feel like Manitou is 100 percent back as soon as Adam's opens," said Johnson.
Natalie Booth has served at Adam's Mountain Café for six years. She said being out of work the past three weeks wasn't easy. She was back Thursday, and so were her regulars.
"It's really good to see old faces to help us out and support us," said Booth.
Adam's Mountain Café has been a popular eatery in Manitou for nearly 30 years.
"This is the town that has supported us through many, many situations. This is not the first flood that Adam's has been through," said McDonough.
McDonough is focused on getting her restaurant fully operational. On Thursday, it set up tables in the rotunda outside the restaurant's main dining area. McDonough wants to reopen the main dining area in the next week. It could take several months to repair and reopen the patio.
McDonough said the restaurant will look for a new location because this summer's flash floods are expected to be a common phenomenon for the next several years.
"Restaurants, the profit margin is very small. Small business, same thing. When you're in a town that depends on a tourism industry for four months out of the year to get you through the other eight (and you're) shut down for three weeks in one of our busiest months," said McDonough. "(It) has a huge impact."
"It's too much risk, really so we have to look at how we are going to be handling that in the future," said McDonough.
McDonough said one thing is certain: The restaurant's new location will be in Manitou.
"This town has been supporting us for 28 years. I don't think it would be fair, and it's just not right for us to go and leave, so we will be here in some way or another," said McDonough.