ROAD TO RECOVERY: West Houston businesses start rebuilding after Harvey

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Monday, September 25, 2017
West Houston starts recovery process after Harvey
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West Houston starts recovery process after Harvey.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The wine racks are gone. The table and chairs are somewhere in a landfill. In fact, if you look inside Diana Bowen's restaurant, you could never imagine that just weeks ago, she served hot pizza and killer lasagna to her loyal Energy Corridor customers.

"Late at night, when I have my thoughts to myself, then it gets to you, it does," said Bowen, as she tried to hold back tears.

Her restaurant, Achille Italian Café, and sixteen of her small business neighbors were engulfed by Harvey's flood waters. The strip center along Eldridge Parkway took on several feet of water.

A few doors down, Celia Moore is rebuilding her Beans Café.

"It's hard, people come in almost daily to look in the window and ask how we're doing," said Moore, who did manage to save her expensive professional espresso machine.

Throughout the Energy Corridor, multi-national oil and gas companies were hit just as hard as the mom and pop restaurants that feed its workers. The local management district says the goal now is to learn from what happened, so they can work to prevent a repeat in years to come.

"Is it the building, is it the stream, is it the reservoir, is it the gates," asked Clark Martinson, the Executive Director of the Energy Corridor Management District. "We're gathering data right now on what happened with this event."

Finding a permanent solution, whether involving more reservoirs or better drainage, will take time and perhaps billions of dollars. What is easier to see, is the progress being made at the strip center.

As cleanup is in full swing, both Achille Italian Café and Beans Café aim to reopen before Thanksgiving, eager to welcome back their customers.

"It's hard to feel like it's a disaster because the recovery has been wonderful for us," said Moore.

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