Half a year after Hurricane Harvey, Houston is still reeling from the disaster. Local businesses were impacted, and some are still fixing what the water destroyed. Nundini’s Chef’s Table and gelato factory has been closed since the flood water ravened their business, which in turn impacted the local businesses they supplied to.
But Nundini’s is finally making a comeback.
Anyone who has driven by Nundini’s on North Shepherd knows how large it is. High steps lead up to the restaurant and behind that is a massive distribution center. During Harvey the property looked like a laguna, with the building its island. The flood water did well to leave its mark on the business from inside out. Harvey may have closed the doors to Nundini’s, but owner Giampaolo Nundini won’t let them stay closed for long.
Many employees were displaced, but luckily Nundini’s was able to retain some for the rebuild.
Very little was salvageable once the flood water dried up. After an intense demolition process, they began a six-month plan for remodeling.
The entire building; including, the kitchen, retail store, gelato factory, and areas of import and export had to be completely rebuilt.
“The sheer size of our factory and the intricacy of our unique operations have proven to be our biggest challenge to contend with. It is not like rebuilding a single home after a disaster, it’s like rebuilding a small neighborhood, stores and all,” said Nundini.
With a tentative reopen date set for March 15 of this year, Nundini will first concentrate on getting the restaurant back on its feet while providing a small amount of gelato in their retail store. Soon after, full production will be up and running and the factory will once again meet the demands of their customers.
And loyal customers they are. To aid their customers from being without quality gelato, during closure Nundini attempted to substitute it with a gelato similarly produced from another small local factory. However, their customers opted out and have decided to pull gelato from their menu until Nundini’s gelato factory is distributing.
“In every case, they elected to patiently wait for the best gelato in Texas,” said Nundini.
Marchese’s Kitchen on Pinemont is one of the businesses that buys gelato from Nundini’s factory. Although Marchese’s Kitchen was not directly impacted by Harvey, they had been buying their gelato from Nundini for about a year and have been waiting for Nundini’s to reopen with no plans to seek out another distributor.
“We’ve never gotten [gelato] from anywhere else,” said Susan Henn, Marchese’s Kitchen’s owner, “No, we’re going to wait for Nundini.”
Once Nundini’s distribution is back on track, the local businesses waiting to put gelato back in their restaurants will be as well. No longer will anyone have to look very far for Nundini’s quality gelato.
The wait won’t be much longer — with March just around the corner and with new things happening at Nundini’s, the wait will have been worth it. Two banquet rooms in a dedicated area, equipped with self-serving bars have been added to the selection of offerings at Nundini’s. They’ve updated their liquor permits, so now if you want a mixed drink you can have it, the hours are longer, and their retail store will feature exclusive items from Italy and from local artisans.