Saving the day, one plate at a time
Effrain Franco cooks up food for hungry patrons Tuesday afternoon at Tio Taco mexican restaurant on Altama Avenue in Brunswick.
Tiffany Fields/The Brunswick News

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear aprons.

As Hurricane Irma rolled over the Golden Isles and knocked out the electricity in most homes, the golden glow emitted from a Waffle House was a warm and welcoming sight for Glynn County’s residents.

Several restaurants in the area remained open during the evacuation, which began on Friday in preparation for Irma’s Monday arrival.

And on Tuesday, when the clouds parted and sunlight began to shine through, bringing some life back to Brunswick, more restaurants, stores and gas stations began to reopen and serve those still in town.

“I’ve been looking for a place to eat since this morning,” said Peter Glynn, a Sterling resident, a cup of Waffle House coffee steaming in his hand.

Grocery stores and hardware stores also began to open their doors on Tuesday.

“Publix is open, they’re open and running,” Glynn said. “Wal-Mart’s still closed down. Publix is open for shop, and I’m going to hit them up this afternoon.”

On Tuesday afternoon, a sign stood outside the front door of Tio Taco on Altama Avenue, announcing that the restaurant would reopen at 2:30 p.m.

Megan Hyde, who stood outside smoking a cigarette, said the owner had just temporarily run out of food.

“We’ve been driving around for 30 or 45 minutes looking for places to eat,” she said.

Before the clock hit 2:30 p.m., though, the restaurant’s co-owner George Franco opened the door and invited Hyde and her dining partner, Lee Erikson, inside.

Franco said the restaurant never lost power during the storm and remained open most days. It did, however, run out of food a few times.

“We had to close yesterday because we ran out of food,” he said. “We reopened yesterday at like four o’clock and closed at midnight. It was crazy.”

Many customers were enjoying chips and salsa and sipping on beers and frozen margaritas Tuesday, and Franco said the restaurant remained busy throughout the storm.

“We’re just trying to feed everybody,” he said. “There will be a limited menu for the next few days. We have a big truck coming tomorrow, bringing food.”

Franco had help from his wife and a few servers, and he said plenty of food and drinks were on hand Tuesday to keep customers happy.

“We’re just trying to put everything together for the community,” he said.