By Sarina Trangle
The owner of a Forest Hills café inundated with snow after a plow accident last Thursday said the debacle has been his biggest headache since opening the restaurant three years ago.
Elias Kalogiros said the entire front of Exo Café, at 70-20 Austin St., was damaged Feb. 13 when a snowplow struck a trash can full of snow and ice and launched the bin at the café, mangling the vestibule and shattering windows. The trash can bounced back on the sidewalk, but Kalogiros said a surge of water flooded Exo.
The staff immediately mopped up the floors and began boarding up the windows, but Kalogiros said someone had to stay in Exo overnight until the lock was repaired.
“This is No. 1, 2 and 3 in terms of our problems. We haven’t had any problems like this,” he said.
Kalogiros is now waiting for an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and then aim to get the city to pay for repairs.
Despite diners’ shock and injuries that sent two patrons to the hospital, Kalogiros said the community has rallied around him.
“People were stopping by. Everybody was asking how we’re doing,” he said.
The NYPD said two customers were hit by shards of glass at 11:15 p.m. Authorities brought a 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman to the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System with minor injuries, according to the NYPD.
Kalogiros believes the plow was speeding and traveling at close to 20 mph. He said diners ran from the window because the crash of the trash can made them think a car had driven through the restaurant or a bomb had gone off.
The city Department of Transportation said it was still investigating the incident, but will be disciplining the two employees operating the plow.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.