On Sunday, Oct. 12, the kitchen staff at Sweetwater Steakhouse received a visit from an unexpected guest when the driver of a Mercedes Benz drove her car through the doors of the kitchen entrance.
The accident, which took place around 12 p.m., caused significant damage to the building and forced owner, David DeSanders, to temporarily close the doors while the integrity of the building is assured and damages are repaired (if needed).
Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident, however, video footage from a survellience camera in the kitchen shows employees standing just inches away as the vehicle careened through the north side of the restaurant.
DeSanders says he was more than surprised when he received a phone call from an employee notifying him of the situation.
“It was something you see on TV but don’t ever expect to happen to you,” DeSanders said. “Luckily no one was hurt and we plan to have the restaurant operational as soon as possible.”
The accident also triggered an exhaust hood Ansul System designed to extinguish flames in the case of a fire. The triggering of this system left the restaurant without water and propane for 48 hours, and without hot water for 72 hours before a serviceman from That Fire Guy could reset the system.
Although there is not a timetable for the repairs to be completed, DeSanders hopes to have the restaurant operational sooner rather than later. DeSanders is currently working with the woman’s insurance agency to assess damages and ServiceMaster Clean Service crew to clean.
Damaged items included cooking equipment, floors, doors, walls, water pipes, staircase railings and dishes. DeSanders estimates damages to be well above $50,000. There was no damage to the dining room.
DeSanders said he will review the structure of the building for damage and inconsistencies in the foundation.
The vehicle was removed within the hour and DeSanders said most employees were sent home for the day while others stayed to clean and maintain the integrity of the food, that his employees are eager to return to work, and that he is working tirelessly to get the restaurant back to form.
“I want to tell my customers everything is going to return to normal soon and if they have any questions or need more information, they can visit us on Facebook at Sweetwater Steakhouse,” DeSanders said.
Sweetwater Steakhouse will celebrate its 9th year in business on Friday, Nov. 7.