Food, Wine & Spirits in St. Louis

Saturday, January 21, 2012 / 3:25 PM

Broken Water Pipe Shuts Down Luciano's Trattoria

For the last 24 hours, half a dozen trucks from Woodard's Cleaning and Restoration Services  have been parked in front Luciano's Trattoria at 172 Carondelet Plaza in way the carpets were that dirty. This was Woodards' Fire, Smoke, and Water Damage crew, responding to a call.  

Yesterday approximately 10 a.m., a sprinkler head (or its supply pipe) burst, filling the 7000 SF restaurant with water. A lot of water. Michael Del Pietro, who co owns Luciano's with his brother Marc and sister Leah, said the water was not turned off for 40 minutes, flooding the restaurant with "nearly a foot of water." He elaborated: "The entire restaurant was destroyed--carpets, furniture, a lot of the drywall--everything." Asked how long the repairs might take, Del Pietro could only guess: "It might be weeks, it might be a lot of weeks."  

The pipe that supplies the standard kitchen sink is 5/8" in diameter; this was a 2-inch diameter pipe, designed to deliver water under high-pressure. It was thought that a motor controlling an air louver malfunctioned, allowing cold air to freeze the pipe Thursday night. When the building heated up Friday, as employees were readying for the lunch shift, the burst occurred.

Let's look on the bright side: such an occurrence does open the door for change. Would the Del Pietro's rebuild the space as Luciano's again? Or might a different concept rise in its place like the Phoenix? Shaking his head, Del Pietro had no answer, saying, "You know, we really don't know. We've been so busy cleaning up the mess we haven't even thought about it."  

To make a freakish story even more bizarre, this has happened before--in the same space. "The exact same thing happened 10 years ago, right after we opened," Del Pietro explained, "but it was contained earlier so there was far less damage." Today, Del Pietro was tired but grateful: 'At least it wasn't a fire and no one was hurt."     

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