Kentucky Restaurant Braces For Flooding As Ohio River Levels Rise

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After record rainfall over the weekend, some Louisville restaurants are packing up ahead of this week’s flooding event.

For nearly a year, restaurants and bars in Kentucky have had to jump through hoops to stay open as much as possible. Now, there is a new set of challenges.


What You Need To Know

  • Louisville restaurants are bracing for flooding after a weekend full of rain
  • The Ohio River is expected to crest Thursday, and Cunningham’s Creekside is preparing for the incoming water
  • Owners said it’s another hoop to jump through after having to deal with COVID-19
  • Cleanup could take weeks for Cunningham’s Creekside

“The last 13 months have seemed like 13 years because it’s been one challenge after another,” said Brent George, owner of Cunningham’s Creekside.

Restauranteurs along River Road including Cunningham’s Creekside say it’s routine now when the Ohio River rises they pack up and move everything out.

“We’ll be closed indefinitely until the water comes in, the water goes out and then when we get everything put back together,” George explained.

But nothing could prepare them for the possibility of fighting another flood with COVID-19 on their doorstep.

“Unfortunately, there’s not a full proof plan of how to combat, how to respond to it, or whatever, each one is a little bit different,” George added.

On Wednesday, employees were working hard to remove free-standing items from inside the restaurant before waters got too high.

“You just basically try to get every single thing that’s not nailed down outside the building. Then we’ll come back and we’ll sandbag it,” George said.

As Ohio River levels continually rise, the fish sandwich joint’s lower level was quickly consumed by floodwaters. Owners say it’s one of the drawbacks of operating on the water.

“The best thing about being on the river is being on the river and the worst thing about being on the river is being on the river.”

The establishment has seen this too many times. The Ohio River jumped its banks in 2018 and many times since. 

“I hate it for my guests, but the people that suffer the most in this are my employees. Again, this is how they make their livelihoods.”

George is expecting a 29-foot crest during what’s supposed to be profitable weeks ahead. But with the the latest flood predictions, those plans have now shifted.

“We have lent Friday’s and we’re getting ready for March Madness, all the good days, and this just puts us behind,” George said.

Meanwhile, he and others along river road are calling it a waiting game as they await to see the extent of the damage and prepare to welcome back the crowds.

“It will be as quick as possible. We won’t spare one day if we don’t have to,” George said.

Cunningham’s Creekside expects to be closed to the public as clean up could take at least a couple of weeks.


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