The Crazy Crab at Jarvis Creek on Hilton Head Island, which closed March 7 after a cooking fire spread to the attic of the restaurant, plans to reopen by Memorial Day.
“We are all really optimistic that we will be open for summer,” said Abby Wirth, spokeswoman for Coastal Restaurants & Bars group — the local company that owns the restaurant.
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The fire, which started that morning in the kitchen as the staff was getting ready for the lunch crowd, shot straight to the attic, she said. Most of the damage at the restaurant is from the water used to put out the fire, which ultimately caused the ceiling to collapse.
The primary objective after the fire, Wirth said, was to make sure the staff was taken care of and had other employment while repairs are being made on the restaurant.
“Every single one of them has a position at another one of our restaurants,” Wirth said. “That was the owner’s No. 1 priority before even dealing with the insurance adjusters.”
Many of the employees — some of whom have worked for the restaurant for nearly 20 years — have been placed at the Crazy Crab location in Sea Pines.
A deck expansion that was underway when the fire occurred was not damaged and will be ready when the restaurant reopens, Wirth said.
Even the fish in the restaurant’s large saltwater tank were spared, Wirth said. Two eels — one estimated to be about 18 years old — are an attraction for customers.
“There are families that come every year and look forward to seeing the eel,” she said, adding that the response from the community since the fire has been tremendous.
“We have heard from people who provide us services to people who have visited from Iowa for 20 years,” Wirth said. “We had 13,000 views on our first Facebook post.”
Teresa Moss: 843-706-8152, @TeresaIPBG