A motorist inadvertently plowed through the front of Phil’s Grill in Metairie shortly before it opened Friday.
No one was injured, and owner Phil de Gruy said his burger joint opened up for customers as usual even as he and his employees cleaned up after the accident.
“People are in here eating,” he said. “We’re going to keep rocking and rolling. What else can we do?”
De Gruy said the woman who drove into his restaurant on Severn Avenue pulled into a parking lot about 10:15 a.m. intending to go to a neighboring business. She said her brakes failed as she turned in, according to de Gruy.
“She just went right into the dining room,” he said. “Luckily, it was 10:15 and not 10:25 or later, because some of my servers would’ve been in here opening up, and somebody probably would’ve been hurt.”
De Gruy said Friday afternoon that he and his workers were cleaning up the debris from the crash and boarding up the massive hole left in the front of the restaurant. Diners, meanwhile, were eating on the opposite side of the restaurant.
“They’re diehards,” he said. “They said, ‘As long as you’re cooking, we’re eating.’ So why not?”
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office did not immediately release any information about the crash. De Gruy said nothing similar had happened at Phil’s Grill since he founded the business at that location in 2007. It was the latest episode of what the 46-year-old called a “pretty rough summer” for him after being diagnosed recently with colon cancer.
Friday’s incident occurred a little more than a week after a pickup truck accidentally barreled into the kitchen of a Metairie fire station less than a mile away.
Last week’s wreck happened after a car collided with the truck, sending it careening into the fire station. The driver of the car suffered minor injuries.
The firehouse’s kitchen was empty. Neither the pickup’s driver nor any firefighters were injured in that crash.