Country-Themed Restaurant Finally Rebounds from Flood
"It looks great. It's beautiful in here," said Don Hargraves, Sr. of Shickshinny. "They did a lot of real hard work here. I mean you've got to give them credit. I've never seen people work so hard." Ms. Miller explained the overwhelming experience saying, "You sort of go into this survival mode and you realize that you just got to clean things up, you know, we didn't really have time to think about it."
A plaque outside the restaurant wall along East Union Street indicates the flood watermark of some four and a half feet. Floodwaters inundated the restaurant, toppling a freezer and punching a hole in the ceiling. "It was tough, very physically grueling. We had a lot of help from the community getting things cleaned out," said Ms. Miller. She and co-owner Arlene Monroe spent months disinfecting the building, replacing wood, installing linoleum and ceramic tile and even assembling the furniture following more than a quarter-million dollars damage. "We've gone considerably in debt just restoring things. We knew from the very outset that we were in a position that we would have to do as much as we could ourselves," said Ms. Miller.
The co-owners took a calculated risk coming back in a town that lost about two dozen homes to the flood and took a hit to its tax base. "You never know. It's a gamble," said Mr. Hargraves. His friend, Don Taylor of Hunlock Creek, added, "I'm not sure I would have come back." But the Wagon Wheel is back from the brink in a town that desperately needs a commitment to investment. "This is really the only family-type restaurant anywhere around here and, I mean, Shickshinny's been hit really hard," said Ms. Miller.
This marks the 13th year that Ms. Miller and Ms. Monroe have owned the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. It's open daily 6 a-m to 8 p-m, seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.