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Pignetti's restaurant in Temple to re-open sooner than expected after EF-2 tornado

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jul 10, 2024

TEMPLE, Texas (KXXV) — The oldest Italian restaurant in Temple will be re-opening once again after an EF-2 tornado struck the town destroying the restaurant.

25 News spoke to the Pignetti’s owner, and he says they’ll be opening at the end of this month.

The scene inside Pignetti’s was chaos when the roof caved in and water came crashing down after a tornado struck Temple on May 22.

Some workers calling the disaster "like the Titanic” as the dishes floated in floodwater as customers ran for their lives.

The restaurant is down to the bare bones now as they work to rebuild.

“I was telling friends I’ve had a lot of emotions. This is unsure because of insurance and I haven’t been through this before," Pignetti's owner, Clinton Harwell said.

Harwell spoke with his insurance company and they said he can reopen the historic restaurant in downtown Temple, and it won’t affect his benefits.

He's going to open an event space next door on July 29 and use it for dinner dining.

“We’re working on a limited menu including apps, entrees, and desserts to open dinner only Monday through Saturday 4 p.m. to close," Harwell said.

This will help get some of his staff who have worked for him for years back to work.

“I’ve stayed awake at night wondering how to figure out what the plan is," Harwell said.

He’s also been getting calls asking when they will reopen, so he’s ready to get customers back inside after this scary disaster struck.

“It’s really like family, and it’s exciting to be able to see them again," he said.

He’s expecting the side that was damaged to take another six months to re-open.