Kentucky Floating Restaurant Sinks Into River

Jeff Ruby opened his floating restaurant, The Waterfront, in Kentucky in 1996, but lately it's seen a run of misfortune.
By YAZHOU SUN

Jeff Ruby opened his floating restaurant, The Waterfront, in Kentucky in 1996, but lately it's seen a run of misfortune.

“We’ve been hit by runaway barges. We’ve been hit by a tugboat. We’ve been hit by a runaway iceberg,” Ruby told ABC News today. “I almost lost an employee last year when an iceberg hit us.”

This week, he finally lost the restaurant for good. On Tuesday, it sank into the Ohio River.

Ruby thinks the barge that hit the restaurant in Covington, Kentucky, across from Cincinnati, two weeks ago might have caused it to finally sink, but his run of problems goes back a bit further.

In 2011, the eatery came unmoored with about 200 customers and staff members on board. Emergency crews surrounded the boat.

After that, Ruby shut down the restaurant to the public.

“Enough is enough,” Ruby said.

But the restaurant remained floating at its original location, Ruby said, so he could remove the fixtures within it.

Some commentators on Twitter have accused Ruby of keeping the restaurant floating at its location to get an insurance payday, he said, but he denied it.

“After that I closed it down, I never intended to open it again.” Ruby said. “I left it there to scrap the barge.”

In fact, Ruby said, he recently hired contractors to remove the restaurant's art collection and chandeliers. However, before the crew could rescue everything, the restaurant sank.

“I’m looking to see if we can recover some chandeliers,” Ruby said.

“I would have nothing to do with the floating restaurant again,” Ruby added. “Until the restaurant is pulled out of the water, we can’t estimate the loss.”

But Ruby has good memories, too. He said it served diners from Michael Jordan to the King of Jordan. Even Margaret Thatcher patronized the eatery.

“I guess her cat was staying at the hotel,” Ruby said. “She took a lot of seafood back.”

Finally saying goodbye to the restaurant, Ruby said, “is like losing a member in your family.”

“A lot of nostalgic diners messaged me on Twitter, telling me they met their husband or wife there. They had their wedding there,” Ruby said.

He hopes to bring back his riverfront restaurant, only this time it will be on land.

“It’s sexy to dine in a floating restaurant, but it’s not safe sex,” Ruby said. “It’s better to just dine on land and have the view.”

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