Owner stands by strong words to PM

SURVIVOR: La Baracca Espresso Bar and Trattoria owner Steve Krieg happy the local eatery has returned to full service after the March flood.
SURVIVOR: La Baracca Espresso Bar and Trattoria owner Steve Krieg happy the local eatery has returned to full service after the March flood. Marc Stapelberg

La Baracca Espresso Bar and Trattoria owner Steve Krieg believes if it were not for the generosity and support of suppliers, customers, and friends, the task of recovering from the flood would have posed an almost insurmountable challenge.

"I never want to live through that again, but it really opened my eyes to the goodness of people and the resilience of the town," Mr Krieg said.

He said he would never forget that first Sunday after the floods as 30 people got stuck into clearing away the debris.

"We were in tears all day.

"The amount of people that showed up to help us clean was incredible," he said.

The restaurant team worked for another 14 weeks to get the eatery back on its feet while operating on reduced trading hours.

He had also been concerned for his staff and wanted to ensure timely payment of wages.

"I take pride in paying my staff on time," he said.

The eatery didn't have the storage space for full service due to damage to the refrigerators.

Significant structural damage, including the timber floor, as well as having to remove a wall to access the cool room meant the team faced a huge task ahead.

Mr Krieg said it was an anxious wait for the grant money to come through.

He added he had no qualms about challenging the Prime Minister during his visit to the eatery at the height of the clean-up.

"I know of only two people who took up the low interest loan," he said.

"What you need after an event like this is a cash injection because you have lost all your gear.

"Without the support of the community, staff and suppliers we wouldn't be here."

Mr Krieg said he and his wife Julianna lost $100,000 worth of equipment and stock, and the damage to the building "had been disastrous".

"It is really hitting home now.

"Everyone is just exhausted."

Mr Krieg said it was the overwhelming community support that kept them going through the worst of it.

Many customers will notice the fresh trendy décor signalling the positives to come out of the renovations.

The restaurant also has a new menu, with a summer menu in the works, extended trading hours including open on Sundays and rebranded signage and colour scheme.

Mr Krieg said it had been great to see old and new faces back at the business enjoying their service.

Topics:  flood 2017 la baracca espresso bar and trattoria lismore northern rivers business

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