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Ruby Slipper reopens in the shadow of Hard Rock Hotel collapse site

"It feels good to be able to welcome them back," said Kourtni Atkins-Luster, a Saturday morning customer.

NEW ORLEANS — The Ruby Slipper is bustling with hungry customers. Folks are ready to chow down at one of New Orleans' most popular restaurants. 

 "It's great for it to be back and open," said Scott Brown, a customer Saturday morning. "We are excited to be here. Food is still great."

The Ruby Slipper location on Canal and Burgundy sits in the shadow of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel construction site. The doors have been closed since the collapse, shut for nearly two months. 

"It feels good to be able to welcome them back," said Kourtni Atkins-Luster, another customer. "The staff was really friendly. The wait was short. It's been a good morning.'

The Ruby Slipper and a number of other businesses were given the green light to reopen last week after crews were able to secure the crane still hanging above Canal Street, shrinking the evacuation zone. 

But getting the Ruby Slipper back open took some work. 

"We had professional cleaners come through," said Jason Synakiewicz, the owner of the Ruby Slipper. "We had to get fire inspections, a bunch of different inspections. Get product back in house prep it up."

Many of the restaurant's staff went to work at other Ruby Slipper locations, but returning gave many a feeling that they were returning to normal. 

 "We kept almost 90 percent of our staff so we are super excited about that," Synakiewicz said. "They are back in their home store working the shifts they worked, the sections that they worked with all the people they work with all the time."

The reopening fell on Small Business Saturday, where people are encouraged to shop locally. And the customers were more than happy to help. 

"It's good to help the community and get these people their jobs back," customer Scott Brown said. "And get their lives back on track. It feels good."

And for that, the Ruby Slipper is extra thankful this Thanksgiving weekend. 

"Thank you so much," Synakiewicz said. "We are open. We are ready for you. We are excited to serve you breakfast again at 1005 canal."