Durham business owner plans to reopen restaurant in January after gas explosion

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, October 11, 2019
Durham restaurant plans to reopen in January after gas explosion
Six months after a gas explosion rocked downtown Durham, the owner of Saint James Seafood announced he will reopen his restaurant in early January.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been exactly six months since a gas explosion rocked Downtown Durham.

"It was a pretty dangerous situation," said Matt Kelly, chef and owner of Saint James Seafood.

Thursday night Kelly announced his restaurant will be opening in early January, as he remembered what he did that day to check in on his employees and his restaurant.

"I stopped at the old police station and ran through the gates there," he said. "I just remember it being a day I was not prepared for. There's a level of resiliency that needs to be shown and you gotta get back to work."

Kelly said the inside of his restaurant didn't sustain a huge amount of damage but they're still dealing with electricity issues upstairs.

After the explosion, they moved much of the tables, chairs, and artwork into containers outside the restaurant. Three weeks ago, they moved their inventory back inside.

"Now we're scheduling people to bring the restaurant back to its natural state," Kelly said.

He said they have to hire staff back and train them after they might have gotten other positions.

"We're just really excited," Kelly said. "The response we've had from our neighbors, Durham and the local community asking when we're going to be reopening has been great."