Owner of Brooklyn’s Sandy-Damaged River Café Still Plans to Reopen

The River Cafe at night.
The River Cafe at night. Photo: Carmen Lopez and AJ Wilhelm

Josh Ozersky talks to Water Club and River Café restaurateur Michael “Buzzy” O’Keefe about restaurant life after Hurricane Sandy, which obliterated the East River-based restaurant’s dining room, along with its kitchen and wine cellar last October. Day in and out, O’Keefe is personally involved in restoring each of the restaurant’s fixtures are faithfully as possible to pre-storm details, a process that involves rare sawn red oak floors and buffing the hand-carved birds that grace the antique woodwork with a “special wax” and a toothbrush. There may not be an exact timetable for the River Café’s return, but the idea is that for long-time customers it’ll feel like it was never gone at all. [Esquire, Earlier]