Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen,1140 Eldridge Parkway, has reopened its doors after extensive flooding caused after Harvey by the release of the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.
"We have our full staff and menu," Casares, who is also known by her nickname "The Enchilada Queen," tells the Houston Press. Casares's staff was mostly unaffected by Harvey, with only one employee having to evacuate from his home in Missouri City.
Because the restaurant wasn't in a flood zone, Casares says that she didn't have flood insurance. On the Monday before the released water reached the restaurant, Casares and her team went to the location to lift as much valuable equipment and antiques as they could from the floor or low-lying areas. The water rose to around a foot and a half inside.
Her contractor and staff were then able to get inside last week to start cleaning up. "Sunday of last week, we had a team formed and starting cleaning it out, squeegee-ing, mopping, bleaching, disinfecting, getting the sheetrock out, repainting. My contractor was laughing because I called him in the middle of the storm and told him to get ready. He's the one that built the place."
Despite not having flood insurance, Casares says that her primary loss so far was that of the sheetrock, but in the coming days it could be lack of business itself, as the homes and offices around her restaurant have been devastated. "I pulled up at noon today, and that's the disturbing thing; there were three cars out front. People can't even get into their homes yet; they're still underwater. Not all office buildings are open. I'm concerned about when our customers will be able to get back." As of September 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimated that flooding due to the controlled release of the reservoirs could continue until September 15.
Casares does note that she is lucky because she's a fiscal conservative, having saved enough money, so that she won't have to take out a loan anytime soon. "I was telling my contractor. I've had a lot of practice at adversity. This is just another major event." Other major events included when her Woodway restaurant caught on fire, and, oh yeah, when she was shot by a boyfriend. "I've got an ability to bounce back when I face adversity of this type. I don't think about what's happening at that minute. I think, what am I doing to work my way out of this? That's all you can do."
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For Casares that means moving ahead — or, as she calls it, "weathering the storm" — and to do so, she has even been going door to door with her staff, to let any neighbors know they are open and ready to serve the community.
Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen is open Sunday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.t o 10 p.m. and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen at 6401 Woodway is also open.