DEER PARK, Texas – In the midst of chemical plants on every corner in Deer Park and La Porte sits Monument Inn restaurant.
The restaurant is a Houston landmark known for its unique view of the ship channel and good seafood. For the past month, owner Bob Laws said he has lost $500,000 in sales for not being able to open his doors.
“We are closed currently closed because of the ITC fire down the street, and they haven't reopened the road to the public, so we are just sitting here, empty tables,” Laws said.
Despite his restaurant being closed, Laws decided to still pay his employees $80,000 in payroll every two weeks. Laws said letting them go would be like losing family.
“I made the choice to pay my employees while we are closed. A lot of them worked here a long time,” said Laws.
Laws said his restaurant is situated toward the end of Independence Parkway, not too far from the ITC storage facility where several tanks burned for days.
Due to extensive cleanup efforts by ITC, parts of Independence Parkway are closed until further notice, a closure that's hurting foot traffic at laws' 30-year-old restaurant.
“Through one way or another, ITC is responsible for the whole thing, I’m hoping that we can come to a solution to work things out,” Laws said.