PASS-A-GRILLE — Gus Vartaskias feared that the Sea Critters Cafe wouldn't open for Tuesday's lunch rush.
Missing out on hungry customers during a recession is the general manager's nightmare.
Late Monday night, employees noticed the water faucets had slowed to a trickle, the result of a water main break blocks away.
Vartaskias and four employees scrambled during the morning to prepare for about 3,000 customers expected for the day. But getting the most important work done was all but nigh impossible.
"You can't mop the floor, fill up the cooking stations, do the sauces," he said. "You cannot work without water."
A water main break in Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach on Monday night left residents and businesses in the area without water into Tuesday afternoon.
About 100 water customers were affected — those east of Pass-a-Grille Way between 15th and 24th avenues, said Marq Caughell, spokesman for the Pinellas County utilities department. Residents there are advised to boil tap water they need for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth until Thursday morning.
Water returned to the cafe shortly after noon, allowing it to open, Vartaskias said. He was able to serve lunch and dinner.
Tierra Verde residents reported lower water pressure as a result of the break but will not be advised to boil their water, Caughell said.
The break was reported about 10:30 p.m. Monday, and crews turned off the water about 8 a.m. Tuesday. They left the water on all night while they looked for the leak. That's easier to do with normal water pressure in the pipes, Caughell said.
The break, near Pass-a-Grille Way and 16th Avenue, was repaired early Tuesday afternoon, Caughell said.
Jackie Alexander can be reached at (727) 893-8779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.