Four months after having been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Beach restaurant Thai Rock is finally at what owner Robert Kaskel describes as "the beginning of the beginning" of the rebuilding process. After Kaskel gutted the restaurant in the weeks after Sandy — and got his heat working again — he says he didn't have the money to begin the rebuilding process for the next few winter months. But some money has trickled in and they are in their second week of construction. Now they're just trying to prop the house up, replace the walls, and keep it from falling into the bay.
Despite these standstill months, Thai Rock's reopening is starting to become more of a reality. Kaskel expects proper reconstruction work to begin in mid-March, and he's gunning to have the restaurant ready to reopen just in time for summer season at Rockaway Beach. At the very least, Kaskel says he will be able to get Thai Rock's undamaged deck open by mid-May with a bar, some light food and jet ski rentals.
In the meantime, Thai Rock is raising money on SmallKnot, offering gifts such as a Thai dinner for two, Thai cooking lessons, and an open bar party for 12 to those who donate. For those who don't live near the Rockaways but would like to make a small donation, Thai Rock will give a $25 gift card to a local Sandy victim for a $25 investment. Beyond that, Kaskel says he has started a very limited carryout and delivery service for those in the community to help with morale. "A community can't exist just with people and houses," he says. "You need services." Orders are few, he says, but the service "helps keep the drumbeat alive" in Rockaway Beach.