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A Tale Of Two Restaurants: Flood Damage Varies Depending On Preparations

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Two eateries next door to each other in northwest suburban River Grove were in very different stages of cleanup on Tuesday, as flood waters from the Des Plaines River slowly receded.

“It’s not as bad this time as it was in 2008 for us,” said Ed Karayanes, director of operations for the McDonald’s at Grand Avenue and River Road.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, next door at the famous Gene and Jude’s Red Hot Stand, a big flood cleanup was underway on Tuesday. Workers were seen donning respirators while cleaning up inside on Tuesday, and tossing out flood-damaged debris, while the McDonald’s next door was getting ready to open for business.

Gene & Jude's Red Hot Stand was still undergoing cleanup on April 23, 2013, with some workers wearing respirators as they tossed out debris, five days after widespread flooding due to heavy rains. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

Gene & Jude’s Red Hot Stand was still undergoing cleanup on April 23, 2013, with some workers wearing respirators as they tossed out debris, five days after widespread flooding due to heavy rains. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

“We’re cleaned up, we’re ready to open, just doing some … starting on the outside now,” Karayanes said.

It’s not that the flooding wasn’t as bad at the McDonald’s, it was the result inside the two restaurants.

Karayanes had installed special flood prevention equipment at the McDonald’s after the 2008 flooding; including shutoff valves for the sewer lines, and rubberized door dams.

The McDonald's restaurant at Grand Avenue and River Road in River Grove (the fast food eatery is attached to a gas station convenience store) was preparing to reopen on April 23, 2013, five days after widespread flooding from heavy rains. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

The McDonald’s restaurant at Grand Avenue and River Road in River Grove (the fast food eatery is attached to a gas station convenience store) was preparing to reopen on April 23, 2013, five days after widespread flooding from heavy rains. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

“We only had about a half an inch seepage,” he said. “We just had seepage in the building through penetrations in pipes, and stuff like that, unlike 2008, [when] we had 27 inches.”

He figured he spent as much as $700,000 on cleanup from the 2008 flood, but only several hundred dollars this year.

“It’s money well-invested,” Karayanes said.

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