SEASIDE HEIGHTS - A restaurant owner who rebuilt and reopened after Sandy says construction has shut him down again and cost him his livelihood.
Stewart's Carhop, located on Route 35 in Seaside Heights, is right in the middle of a big construction zone. The highway is closed and owner Frank Elboukili says he never got a warning that he'd lose access to his business.
"At least they should be kind enough to come in and say, 'listen in three or four weeks we'll be closing the roads, just be prepared, tell your staff'," Elboukili says.
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Elboukili says he closed the restaurant on a Friday night in September. He came back Saturday morning to reopen and found a construction zone. Employees couldn't get in and neither could customers. Because of that, he says he lost thousands of dollars worth of food that went to waste.
Elboukili was hoping to get access to side entrances off 35, as nearby A&P and TD Bank were given. But it never happened. He was forced to remain closed in September and October, then closed for the winter.
The owners were expecting to open this month, but the DOT hasn't given them any answers on when work will be completed. Elboukili says with no income, the bills are piling up. Elboukili says he just canceled he and his wife's health insurance to save money.
He's hoping the state repays him for his lost revenue. "There has to be consequences," Elboukili says.
Elboukili says the closure is hurting more than just his family. By now he should be in the process of hiring Summer help, but has no time frame for opening.
News 12 New Jersey asked the DOT for a comment, but the agency did not reply.