ASTORIA – Telly’s Taverna owner Dianna Loiselle spoke with The National Herald about the surprise gas inspection on January 21 that forced the Greek restaurant to close for days and lose thousands of dollars.
It all happened on Friday afternoon when a subcontractor hired by Con Edison showed up for a random inspection of the restaurant’s gas pipes, Loiselle told TNH. “We thought he was going to read the meter, but he said he found a leak and we had to shut off the gas while we had food on the grill and customers waiting to be served.”
The owner with tears in her eyes begged to let them keep the gas on until all the orders were out, since there was no immediate danger due to the leak. “I begged him, crying. I was very embarrassed and the customers were waiting for their food. I was in a panic,” she said, adding that the issue could have been fixed overnight and the restaurant would not have had to close. “My plumber changed the meter in less than half an hour. They could have let us do it overnight instead of shutting down and losing thousands of dollars.”
The weekend is, of course, the busiest time for restaurants and Telly’s had reservations and parties scheduled. Thousands of dollars-worth of fish, meat and produce had just been delivered for the busy weekend, Loiselle noted.
The inconvenience continued even after Loiselle’s plumber fixed the problem. “My plumber solved the problem immediately, but it was a weekend and we had to wait until Monday for him to file the paperwork,” she said, adding that the work would also have to be re-inspected, but Con Edison had yet to send someone.
Days passed and ABC 7 Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg who had covered Telly’s Taverna for her series on local restaurants saw Loiselle’s social media posts about the situation and her colleagues at 7 On Your Side contacted Con Edison.
The utility told 7 On Your Side that “it was already working on getting the restaurant inspected again,” ABC 7 reported, noting that “within hours of our emails and calls… the restaurant was allowed to reopen.”
Open for 30 years, Telly’s Taverna was able “to eat the loss,” Loiselle told TNH, adding that the workers were paid for the days the restaurant was closed. She had also heard from other restaurant owners who shared stories of surprise inspections but had not been able to reopen in these uncertain times.
Loiselle thanked Lauren Glassberg and 7 On Your Side for their help and the restaurant is back to operating normally again.