When Superstorm Sandy hit Long Island, Rockville Centre was able to quickly regain and even hold on to electric power. Rockville Centre is one of the few communities on Long Island that has its own electric grid. According to Herald reports at the time, 99 percent of residents had their power back within eight days after the storm.
This was a benefit not just Rockville Centre residents, but for people from nearby towns. Village restaurants said they had customers come in from near and far to charge their phones, contact their families and have a hot meal.
“I’m an Oceanside resident,” said Chris Evans, one of the owners of Press 195. “And I actually couldn’t work the first week because my house was underwater.” Press 195 never lost power and became a place of stability, where people could charge their phones and get something to eat.
Evans said that it was hard to get their product in and they did not have enough food at times. “We couldn’t get all our employees here,” said Evans. “Everybody was very understanding and we did our best.”
Other area restaurants shared stories of providing food and power after Superstorm Sandy. George Martin the Original never completely lost power, according to manager Mike Silva. “We’ve heard families were just grateful that they could get hot food,” said Silva. “Servers went out of their way to charge peoples’ phones.”
Jimmy Trahanas, owner of the Golden Reef Diner, said that people would come to charge their phones and eat. He also said that the diner would hold people’s receipts and let them pay later. “Everyone was nice,” said Trahanas. “Everyone was cooperating.”
At Panera, Rockville Centre Area Director Dan Sodikoff said a similar situation happened because their restaurant didn’t lose power and stayed open through the aftermath of the storm. Sodikoff wrote in an email that they set up charging stations for power, and people were coming in for a meal and hot cup of coffee, for a place to talk to others, for cell phone coverage.”
Like other area restaurants, Panera had people from surrounding communities coming in for food and power. “We made daily donation drop-offs to residents down in Long Beach of breads and other food items,” wrote Sodikoff.