FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Dozens of restaurants are affected by the boil water advisory, and a popular event in town compounded the problem by bringing in even more customers than usual.
“Getting bottled water. We’re serving cans of some of the basic sodas,” says Chick-Fil-A manager Aaron Kelpin.
Restaurants and other shops along Coliseum Boulevard had to improvise in order to remain open Friday, after the city issued a boil water advisory.
No tap water meant no fountain drinks, even though many already run through a filter system.
In some cases, places couldn’t offer coffee or iced tea.
“I am disappointed because I wanted tea today, and everybody knows Chick-Fil-A has the best tea. But we’ll live, we’ll survive,” customer Paula Crill says.
The lack of abundant water also impacted how quickly food could be prepared.
“We wash a lot of our produce and things in the restaurant, receive it fresh. And so not having as much water as we usually do has slowed that process down,” Kelpin says.
Compounding the problem at lunch time was the influx of thousands of people flooding the Memorial Coliseum for the annual Vera Bradley outlet sale, who then wanted to go out for a bite to eat.
“We knew that going into the weekend it would just be even busier with the Vera Bradley sale, so it’s been kind of a perfect storm of we’re busy enough when we’re operating at full capacity. But it’s still fun,” Kelpin says.
Deb Sponseller came to Fort Wayne from Kalamazoo to visit her aunts and shop at the Vera Bradley outlet sale.
While they didn’t buy any bottled water at the Coliseum, they all had it with their lunch at Chick-Fil-A.
“We just got done with Vera Bradley and enjoying our meal here at Chik-Fil-A. And so the water here in a bottle, not a problem? Water in a bottle is not a problem,” Sponseller says.
Managers at Olive Garden tell us they also could not serve fountain drinks, coffee, or lemonade.
While their lettuce comes pre-washed and they bring in ice, they had to restrict each guest to one bottled water and one can of soda.
Other restaurants followed similar protocols, so they could remain open while the boil water advisory was in effect.