After a five-month hiatus, co-owner Jeanne Hartmann Schumacher began stocking beer coolers at her long-standing Mattituck bar Friday morning after the Suffolk County Department of Health gave her the green light to reopen.
"It's been very frustrating," she said. "But I'm happy today for sure."
Schumacher had to close down the Valise, located across the street from the train station on Pike Street, after an electrical fire broke out in the men's room the afternoon of July 16. Though no one was injured and members of the quickly extinguished the blaze, much of the interior of the building had to be repaired due to water damage.
"The men's room is brand new, and we also replaced a wall in the ladies' room due to water damage," Schumacher said, adding that parts of the floor of the main room and electrical wires in the rafters also had to be replaced.
Schumacher said that insurance issues had a lot to do with the delay in reopening. The Broken Down Valise was originally built around 1920 as Mattituck's original train station. It was a liquor store at one time and changed hands over the years as a bar. Schumacher and her sister, Jackie, have run the place for 12 years.
Though word hadn't gotten out yet of the reopening, loyal Valise customer Mike DeVitto popped his head into the pub, overwhelmed with joy.
"I saw that the lights were on, and I couldn't believe it," he said. "It's amazing!"