It took more than 42 years for the Bazzarelli family to build their word of mouth reputation of mouth watering food and superior service in Moonachie.
But in just minutes, all of that hard work at the Bazzarelli Restaurant and Pizzeria was taken away by Superstorm Sandy.
"It was as if a giant came in and starting smashing and breaking the water the filth. Cars were floating in the parking lot. It was total devastation. I've never seen anything like it in my life," said Rosangela Bazzarelli, owner of the restaurant.
Waist-high water meant everything had to be fixed; furniture, stoves, drywall, raking up a $300,000 bill.
"How do you give up? This is not a building, this is part of our family, this is who we are. So we had to rebuild," Bazzarelli said.
Just when it felt like too much money and too much work the owner says their customers are people they really consider family and friends stood right behind them.
You see, the Bazzarellis did not have flood insurance.
So they had to dip into their savings, eating up a staggering $200,000 of their own.
Customers donated money and staff sacrificed their time.
That generosity led to Monday's grand reopening celebration.
Senator Bob Menendez and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno said they'll keep fighting for much needed government aid for hard hit small businesses.
"This is why we have to fight in Washington because you should have to go through your life savings in order to open a business that clearly needs to be open in this community," Guadagno said.
Customers say they've been coming here for decades because it doesn't just feel like home it is home.
"The food is delicious. The hospitality is great. And they're very friendly," said Angie Gardner, a customer.
"They're loyal customers. The feeling is mutual they love us and we love them," said Nella Bosi, a waitress.
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