Wet Kitty! El Gato Cleans Up From Sprinkler Deluge | Bite Club

Wet Kitty! El Gato Cleans Up From Sprinkler Deluge

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Tree Bertram cleans up at El Gato Cantina in Burlington - COURTESY OF EL GATO CANTINA
  • Courtesy of El Gato Cantina
  • Tree Bertram cleans up at El Gato Cantina in Burlington
It's raining cats and ... cactus?

Last week, Burlington's El Gato Cantina took an unexpected bath when a sprinkler upstairs from the restaurant  broke, sending water pouring through the lower floors at 169 Church Street.  "It was literally raining inside the restaurant," El Gato owner Theresa "Tree" Bertram  told Seven Days, recalling the surprise Tuesday afternoon shower.

Since the deluge occurred during the afternoon lull between lunch and dinner, few customers or employees were on the premises.  "We’re lucky it’s the slow season, and that this didn’t happen during a Friday night rush," Bertram said.

The damages — to the building's ceilings, floors, walls and wiring, along with restaurant property such as upholstery, electronics and POS systems — have been assessed at more than $100,000, Bertram said. "It's like opening a whole new restaurant," she said of the flood-related construction.

Fortunately, there's insurance for that. All of the losses, including spoiled inventory and lost income while the restaurant is closed for repairs, are covered. "We pay insurance all the time," Bertram said. "But then something like this happens, and you’re like, Thank God [for insurance]."
Working on repairs inside El Gato Cantina - COURTESY OF EL GATO CANTINA
  • Courtesy of El Gato Cantina
  • Working on repairs inside El Gato Cantina
For the past week, El Gato's management team has been working with carpenters, electricians and plumbers to get the place back to operating condition. "The bright side is that we'll get a little facelift," Bertram said, "and we’re going to be able to open back up stronger and better than ever."

When might that be? Early next week, if all goes well, she said. In the meantime, the restaurant's 35 or so furloughed employees are collecting unemployment, and they'll continue to do so until the tequila starts flowing anew.

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