ANDOVER — Just more than 130 days after the owners were forced to close following the Sept. 13, 2018, gas disaster, Yella Grille, the last of the affected Andover businesses, has reopened.
From the day patrons left their tables topped with half-eaten plates of food and partially full wine glasses, the restaurant underwent upgrades and repairs to get the owners ready for a grand reopening Friday, Jan. 25.
Danielle Berdahn, who co-owns Yella with her husband, Carlo Berdahn, said their restaurant had a pressurized gas incident in its industrial-style stove. That fire led to a total upgrade in infrastructure, including the exhaust system, fire suppression system and gas plumbing.
Danielle said once those issues were handled other problems needed to be dealt with in what she referred to as a “domino effect.”
Originally set to reopen Nov. 13 — coincidentally the date of the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary — the opening was delayed for what would be months after the scope of the damage was realized.
Yella is the main source of income for the Berdahn couple, who reside in Lynnfield with their two young daughters, 3-year-old Mariana and 6-year-old Sofia. Danielle said at times they feared they were going to lose the restaurant that guaranteed her family’s main flow of revenue.
“You pour your heart and soul into your business,” she said. “It was a very stressful time for our family.”
As surrounding restaurants and businesses continued to reopen over the course of weeks, Danielle and Carlo were still dealing with repairs and awaiting the day they, too, would be able to welcome patrons.
"I was truly happy for the other businesses and happy to see the town was coming together,” Danielle said. “A lot of us as business owners, we know each other and we deal with the same challenges.”
Danielle said the support from residents of the town of Andover was overwhelming and showed her that people truly care about her family and the restaurant.
“This was an opportunity for good people to shine and that is what they did,” she said.
The grand reopening drew more than 100 people. Fire dancers and ice sculptures added to the excitement. Danielle said she was thrilled by the sight of her loyal customers filling the seats of the restaurant and enjoying meals there for the first time in months.
She called these people her “biggest champions.”