Frying pan restaurant owner documents Hurricane

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– When a hurricane begins pummeling your restaurant, there’s not much you can do other than close up shop, hunker down and pull out your iPhone 10 to document the storm.

And that’s exactly what Craig Sblanks, 44, general manager of the Frying Pan restaurant and American Fish Company in Southport, N.C., did.

“I did it during Matthew two years ago,” Sblanks said by phone Friday, referring to the Category 5 hurricane that slamed his state, along with Venezuela and Cuba in 2016. “And people seemed to respond.”

So this whole week, Sblanks has been giving Facebook updates. He boarded up his restaurant, moved his expensive equipment, and showed the heavy rains at high tide that battering the coastline of his oceanside property near the mouth of Cape Fear River, with an estimated population of about 3,600. 

His Facebook posts have gotten hundreds of comments. But despite the wind and rains, Sblanks said his restaurant seems to be OK. The worst damage seems to some trees falling, power outages and wooden docks ripping off. At least on Friday, another popular seafood  restaurant, Provision Company, was still standing, he said.

Still, Southport was a ghost town on Friday. Most people evacuated. But he said he wanted to stay close and have “boots on the ground” when the weather cleared up and he could assess the situation. 

Sblanks was taking everything in stride.

“We can all take a little water,” he said. “We’re used to it.”