Ithaca, N.Y. – On Saturday, the servers, chefs, managers, bartenders and more that make up “Simeon’s family” held a vigil outside of what was left of the restaurant on the Commons. They got together again on Sunday for a group barbecue at Taughannock.
This Monday, they will attend the memorial service for Amanda Bush, 27, the pregnant bartender who was killed in the crash at the restaurant. On Tuesday, they’ll go to group counseling at the Carriage House in Collegetown.
There are 35 employees of Simeon’s and three co-owners, many of whom have worked together for years, said co-owner Jamie Zervos.
Following the tragedy last Friday, that group – “a tight-knight family,” Zervos said – has worked as a unit to piece together their lives after a runaway tractor-trailer destroyed their livelihoods.
“We’re very supportive of each other,” Zervos said. “We call ourselves, ‘Simeon’s family.’”
As much as Simeon’s workers and owners have banded together, they have also turned to their neighbors and friends for help.
Many of the 35 employees of Simeon’s counted on their work at the bistro to make ends meet for both themselves and others, Zervos said.
“There are lots of guys with big families,” Zervos said.
“We have a lot of working wage people who are not getting a paycheck and are very apprehensive about their next step … I think a lot of our guys are nervous about what’s happening.”
Simeon’s owners hope to reopen the restaurant some day, said Dean Zervos, Jamie Zervos’ husband and fellow co-owner.
But whether they’ll be able to remains a whole separate question, Dean Zervos said.
“I can’t say, ‘Definitely, yes,’ because the building has to be taken care of first,” Zervos said. “It’s all lawyers and insurance companies right now.”
Dean Zervos was asked if he would move Simeon’s to another location if the old one proves irreparable.
“We would definitely consider looking, but it’s tough to give up the best location on the Commons,” Zervos said.
For now, many of Simeon’s workers could benefit from donations – food, toiletries, diapers, wipes would all help, Jamie Zervos said.
Jamie Zervos thanked Vicki Taylor of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance for working toward raising money for Simeons’ workers. (The United Way has set up a fund for Bush’s family, which can be found here.)
People have already begun dropping off donations at 215 King Street in the Fall Creek neighborhood. Those gifts can make a difference in what promises to be a long road to recovery for Simeon’s family, Jamie Zervos said.
“We’re just at the beginning of feeling this together,” she said.
(For a full list of what Simeon’s owners and employees have asked for, see here.
As reported by Mark H. Anbinder of 14850: “Displaced staff from Simeon’s and other nearby businesses, and displaced residents of the affected buildings, can call the 211 Tompkins information and referral line for referrals to such resources as food pantries. Dial 211 from a local phone, or 877-211-8667.”)