When a hurricane last menaced Connecticut, it proved a blessing for . A tree on the wires near Millstone Power Station in Waterford interrupted rail service during Hurricane Earl, and a crowd of hungry refugees from descended on the restaurant on the same day Greg Robinson and his wife, Dori, took over the business.
With Hurricane Irene approaching, numerous businesses in New London decided to keep their doors shut for the day. Those who stayed open found there was a ready supply of people curious about the storm’s effect on the city and willing to visit the shops or restaurants still open.
“This is the fifth hurricane that I have been open in New London operating a restaurant,” said Greg. “It’s been a blast.”
Captain’s Pizza opened at 6:30 a.m. and witnessed some of the strongest winds and rains of Irene as the hurricane approached and died down to a tropical storm. The restaurant offered an “Irene breakfast sandwich”—two eggs, cheese, and double meat on a crusty hard roll, plus a hash brown patty—as a special. When the storm slackened, more people came to dine in or order a meal delivery as a result of lost power.
A clerk at the on State Street declined to give his name, but said the store was originally going to be among those hanging their closed signs on Sunday. When he went to check on the store, however, he found several senior citizens nearby.
“They were hoping that someone would open, so I had sympathy,” he said.
The man said customers were shopping in their normal routine, buying everything from milk and bread to cigarettes and lottery tickets. The store made swift sales in batteries and candles on Saturday, and was able to keep operating since it never lost power. A sister business, on Broad Street, was not so lucky; its cache of ice cream, however, was saved when it was moved downtown.
At , electricity was also available and there was a full bar of patrons. Baltimore, Md. managed to avoid the worst of Irene’s track along the East Coast, and on the television the Orioles played the first game in a doubleheader with the New York Yankees.
Anthony D’Angelo, a New London resident, said he lost power at his home during the storm. After reading for awhile, he decided to come down to the bar.
“Whenever there are tragedies, we come here,” he joked.