Sundancer Grill rises again after October Lake Travis flooding

A popular eatery on Lake Travis is back in business today after the October flood damaged the restaurant and kept it closed for months.

Cynthia Oliver and her friends were the first customers welcomed back to Sundancer Grill Thursday morning. The restaurant has been closed since mid-October when flooding in the Highland Lakes took a toll on Lake Travis. “Oh my gosh I was depressed for a while! Because I would come in once a week sometimes twice...I hate to say that but I love their burgers,” Oliver said.

Sundancer is Cynthia’s favorite restaurant in the world and apparently the world knows that.

“When they found out this got flooded I had people sending me messages ‘Oh poor Cynthia, her favorite restaurant is underwater,’” she said.  

Yep — underwater. At least for the most part.

There’s a painted black line inside now indicating how high the lake was.

“We’re happy to be back and put this one behind us,” said Pete Clark, one of the owners.

“About the time the news was hitting that the water was coming up we kind of sprung into action and evacuated the place,” Clark said.

Fortunately, Clark says they’re always ready for things like this. So is the building itself...

“Believe it or not it’s designed for flooding. So all of our cooler and our bathrooms and our kitchens are all in trailers,” Clark said.

Clark says they took the fence down and moved the trailers out. Then they played the waiting game.

He says it took several weeks for the water to come down enough to start making repairs. “Who would have thought that metal doors would actually swell up when they got wet? You know I didn’t know there was wood inside of them,” Clark said. “We had to get new doors because there was still water in between the 2 sheets of last week! And there was really no way to get it out,” Clark said.

Clark says he’s been in the lake more than 30 years so he’s been through floods before. And droughts. He says to some degree flooding is easier to deal with from that perspective. “A flood’s better than a drought because a flood may be kind of sudden death where you’re shut down completely but it’s going to end in 3 to 5 weeks. A drought can go on for years and it’s kind of like a slow agonizing death,” he said.

Over the decades, Clark says you learn a little more each time disaster strikes.

“For example the next time it floods I’m taking the doors with us too,” Clark said.

As for his staff, Clark says he owns a couple of other restaurants, so they were dispersed among those while Sundancer was closed. He says most of the staff there now is new and they’ve added some new items to the menu as well.



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