By Mike Dougherty
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Employees of the historic City Tavern restaurant in Old City Philadelphia returned to work on Saturday after being sent home 10 days ago as part of the government shutdown.
City Tavern’s grill is fired up once again, and so are those who work there.
“We’re all excited,” says Chef Walter Staib. “I’ve been running around all morning. I had get some of my vendors to open their doors. I drove the car, loaded up everything we needed.”
Staib says he appealed to the feds to get special permission to open, even though the park is still closed, and finally got the go-ahead late Friday night.
“We had just so much bad PR worldwide for not being open, and they made an exception,” he says. “I’m not the only exception. The also opened the Statue of Liberty, so I’m not the only one.”
He says local politicians, including Mayor Nutter and Congressman Bob Brady, helped with the appeal to reopen — but not before hundreds of reservations were cancelled and not before his 80 employees were forced to take an unwanted vacation.
“Nobody got paid,” Staib says. “It’s kind of very difficult. Everybody is happy to be back to work. It’s like a family here.”
Chef Staib estimates the restaurant lost about $125,000 in revenue over 10 days.