MANCHAC, La. -- A metro-area institution re-opened Wednesday just two weeks after it flooded during Hurricane Isaac, and it's not Middendorf's first time flooding.
Like the pop and sizzle of its hot oil, Middendorf's snapped back to life.
“It's amazing. I wouldn't have believed it,” said Jeannette Buhler.
She and her husband of 66 years have been coming to Middendorf’s since 1937. Their parents were friends, so they went out for fried catfish together long before Cupid’s arrow struck.
“It’s a fixture for us. We've been coming here so long,” Jeannette said.
And it's a fixture for many. Looking at it you would never know it was under water just two weeks ago.
“It’s more responsibility than I ever had in my life to keep an icon like this, Middendorf's, going forward,” said well-known New Orleans chef and owner Horst Pfeifer.
He and his wife, Karen, began cleaning out the restaurant when the water was still high.
“Everything we did over the last couple of years to build it higher and dryer really paid off,” Horst Pfeifer said.
They bought the restaurant after hurricane Katrina knowing it had a history with hurricanes. The Pfeifers had to rebuild after Ike and now Isaac.
“When I saw what happened here, I had this tunnel vision. I had a goal of when I wanted to be open since there's seventy jobs depends on it,” Pfeifer said.
Seventy jobs, including Cathy Williams'.
“I had just started a weekend, then all went crazy with the water and everything,” she said.
Like the Pfeifers, her house also flooded in Pontchatoula.
“There was alligators in the backyard. It was wild,” Williams said.
For the re-opening, the owners put a blue masking tape line along the wall to let customers know just how high the water was in the original dining room -- four feet in some spots.
A new, elevated dining room and kitchen helped make Wednesday's re-opening possible, in addition to a lot of hard work, something Pfeifer said it isn't even sinking in yet.
The restaurant still has to re-do the floors in the original dining room because of the flood water. Pfeifer said he’ll worry about repairing wind and water damage to his house after the restaurant is back on track.