BALTIMORE — A natural gas explosion wiped out several businesses at a shopping center in Columbia and for a year and a half crews worked to rebuild it, so businesses could come back.
Monday night, Pub Dog a local favorite, reopened their doors with a line around the corner.
The explosion took out a lot of the infrastructure they needed to operate, the water, electricity, but luckily inside was relatively unaffected.
Drew Waltson is the Director of Operations for Pub Dog.
“Honestly it’s like a day that for a long time didn’t feel like it was ever going to get here,” Waltson said. “It’s a huge relief an we’re very excited to be back.”
It’s been a long and difficult journey to reopen for Pub Dog.
Some employees were able to keep working at their other two locations and a GoFundMe was created for some extra relief.
“We gave 100% of the money to our staff right after the closing, explosion,” Waltson said. “We have some great customers and neighboring businesses that chipped in.”
This was the first restaurant Scooter the dog ever went to and his owner Raymond Ritzau said they were planning on coming on the day of the explosion.
“We were supposed to be here on the day the explosion happened in the parking lot” Ritzau said. “Its really exciting for us to come back out on the first day when it opens up, and we’ve been planning for this day for a long time now.”
Now the doors are open to create new memories.
Karina Mathur was patiently waiting in line excited to try some of their beers for the first time.
“I turned 21 in the pandemic so I’ve been waiting to come here since I turned 21,” said Mathur.
Joseph Criscuoli said he and a group of friends regularly stopped by Pub Dog and are excited to get the tradition going again.
“The staff here it’s a common meeting place for our friends. Great deals, great people, they actually care and just fun to talk to.”
The restaurants are known for their pizza, space for four legged friends and of course the beer.
While Pub Dog is rolling again with carry out and limited indoor and outdoor dining— the retail space that was rebuilt here is currently being leased.
So the hope is it starts looking like a thriving shopping area again soon.