A bad day at the office…

Valentines Day Power Outage

An explanation of the events of February 14.

Valentine’s Day was shaping up beautifully for us at Christos. The reservations book was full, and advance take-out orders were coming in at a great clip. We had prepared a wonderful menu, and brought in extra staff. Gus even put on a proper pair of slacks instead of his usual Lee jeans, and polished his shoes! The anticipation was building for what would be the busiest day since the onset of the pandemic.

And then, at 3pm, the power went out.

We rushed to the windows only to see that Nicollet Avenue was dark as far as the eye could see in either direction. While one of us was calling Xcel Energy, our chef went out the door to look for Xcel trucks. He didn’t have to go far. One block up the alley he saw them amongst fallen utility poles with tangled cables strewn all over 26th street. Not one, not two, but three poles. Down like so many toy soldiers. Apparently, a car went out of control and crashed into one of the poles. As it toppled, it took down with it two more.

Xcel’s initial quote to restore power was 4:30. But after seeing the damage, we felt this was far too optimistic. We were right. The power ultimately came back on at 5:00am.

It was obvious that we had to shut down. So we sprang into action. There was the chef’s line to break down. Food to be put away and iced down. Take out customers to be notified. Customers to be greeted at the front door as they showed up for the first seating. And of course, the reservations. Without internet service, WiFi or phone service, someone was assigned the task of notifying guests with reservations called in directly to Christos, and another to contact our on-line reservations service to arrange for a mass message to the booked guests. We requested the following message: “Due to a power outage, we will not be able to serve you tonight. Our apologies.” However, our on-line reservation service simply cancelled all reservations without explanation. It would be an understatement to say that this was very disappointing.

Quite obviously, this has been a horrible inconvenience for our customers. None of it was our fault, yet we apologize profusely for leaving you stranded on such an important occasion. We were truly looking forward to entertaining you last night.

The incident has also resulted in substantial loss of income to Christos, not to mention the additional costs of dealing with the repercussions. We hope you understand, and pray that the incident does not result in undeserved negative publicity.