Restaurant owner turns to food truck to keep his business afloat during flood season

DAVENPORT, Iowa - As businesses continue to wait for flood water to recede, one business owner is hitting the road to keep his restaurant afloat.

"It's after 11-o-clock and our lunches are normally packed," said server Robbie Blahnik when WQAD visited La Flama Mexican Restaurant in Davenport on June 4. "As you can see there's nobody in here."

The business was empty, despite being open.

"Its been really sad. People don`t think were open because River Drive is closed," said Blahnik.

The restaurant is the last business in its strip mall to survive. The strip mall is surrounded by water.

Employees say, the water has been an issue since March.

"People down here - they need to survive just like the people downtown do and (the city is) not giving us a chance," said Blahnik.

That's why La Flama owner Martin Garcia has taken his food and hit the road.

"Hola! Mexican Nachos!" You could hear Garcia calling out orders as you approach his food truck.

La Flamas on Wheels is helping to keep the local Mexican restaurant afloat right now.

On June 4, The truck was parked in Bettendorf, far from the flood water.

"It helps to keep the sales going," said Garcia.

The only thing pouring into his business there, was money during the lunchtime rush.

"It will be $9.75! There you go buddy," Garcia said to his customers. The line was non-stop the entire time WQAD's crew was visiting.

Slinging tacos and nachos, Garcia is keeping his customers fed, and perhaps more importantly, his employees paid.

"I don`t see how we would be able to pay the rent or even, more importantly, pay the employees if there is no business," said Garcia.

Garcia said he bought the food truck four years ago because he thought it would compliment his business and provide extra income.

He said he never thought the truck would be paying his rent.

"We are running on a skeleton crew. One server, one dishwasher, and one cook. Normally we have 6 people or 7 people," he explained when asked about the cuts he has made financially.

But, when other flooded businesses needed to close, Garcia still had an option.

"I don`t know if they`re waiting for it to get better, but that waiting is what kills a business," he said.

A twist in the business plan, a story of perseverance.

"I guess its how life is. You know? Its just crazy," he said.

La Flama is open in Davenport. The address is 114 Myrtle St F, Davenport, IA, 52802.

River Drive near the business is closed, but you can access the parking lot from Second Street.

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