'Not easy:' Durham nightlife busy but subdued days after explosion

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Katie Meddis owns Rose's restaurant in Brightleaf Square near where Wednesday's gas explosion happened.

Since it happened, she avoids questions from customers about the aftermath because she can't stop crying.

"It's really not easy to work next to such a bad memory," Meddis said. "Somebody died. A lot of people got hurt. And it's just really upsetting."

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The explosion forced her business to evacuate and close.

Meddis says Friday she had a busy lunch crowd. But the evening rain mixed with the images of all the devastation left her unsure about the later turnout to her restaurant.

"I don't think a lot of people want to come over here right now," Meddis said. "We usually have a wait. A line out the door."

Customer Leslie Fischer didn't have to wait at all at Rose's to buy cookies. She was determined to get them despite the rain, traffic detours and delays around the destruction and barricades.

"I still want to support the businesses that are here as much as possible," Fischer stated.

Just two blocks from the site of Wednesday's explosion, there was a steady stream of customers at West End Wine Bar.

"Tonight this seems more or less on par with what a Friday is, at least at this hour," said Julian Jiamachello, manager at the wine bar.
Jessica Whitehead visited West End Wine Bar to meet up with a girlfriend who starts a new job.

"I said oh, wait, we may have issues getting there," Whitehead said. "We took a chance and tried it anyway. I'm glad we came."

Businesses and customers are trying to carry on. But not forgetting the 25 people injured and the life lost.

Wine Bar is hosting a party Saturday night, and a portion of the ticket sales will go toward helping people and businesses affected.

Saturday is also the farmers market here and the small-business event Second Saturday's Downtown.
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