Nearly four months after a fire caused damage to his restaurant, Patrick Mullen proudly opened his doors for an early lunch crowd.
Patrick’s Kitchen and Drinks, 175 S. Main St., began serving customers shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, just minutes after the restaurant opened.
Zionsville residents Nicki and Mike Bradley are not only some of Patrick’s most loyal customers, they were the first to come into the renovated restaurant.
“We’ve been waiting for it to reopen since it closed,” Nicki said. “We have been checking just about every day. We like the food, the place and the people, and we are excited to be the first ones back in here.”
For Mullen, the past several months have been a challenge.
“I felt that this was more stressful than opening the first time because we weren’t in control of the time-line,” he said. “It was taking so long for not a lot of damage; that’s what was really stressful.”
Mullen said being closed was tough for him but tougher for the staff.
“Our insurance paid for some of the wages, but a lot of income for them came from tips,” he said. “Business-wise, it was the momentum that we feared losing. We kept hoping that we wouldn’t lose our momentum.”
Mullen said there are some new faces to the staff, but several workers did return such as Erika Tyring, who was hired in April as a waitress.
“(After the fire,) I got a job at Hallmark in Carmel,” she said. “I told them right out of the gate that once Patrick was ready they would go on the back burner because this was really my passion.”
Tyring said she was extremely excited to be back at the restaurant.
“It’s kind of half nostalgic and half exciting,” she said. “It’s great to be back and see all the old faces, but we are getting a lot of new people, so that’s exciting.”