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October 25, 2014

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Weeks after tragic crash, Egg and I restaurant welcomes back regulars

Image

Steve Marcus

Landscaping boulders provide extra protection from traffic at Egg and I, 4533 W. Sahara Ave., on Sunday, May 5, 2013. The restaurant reopens May 6, five weeks after a car crashed into the restaurant, injuring 10 people.

Updated Monday, May 6, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.

Egg And I Restaurant Reopens

Brad Burdsall, owner and chief engineer, poses inside the Egg and I restaurant, 4533 W. Sahara Ave., Sunday, May 5, 2013. The restaurant reopens May 6, five weeks after a car crashed into the restaurant injuring 10 people. Launch slideshow »

Car Crashes into Egg and I

A woman is loaded into an ambulance outside the Egg and I restaurant on West Sahara Avenue Monday April 1, 2013. As many as 10 people were injured when a Lexus sedan left the roadway and crashed into the restaurant. Launch slideshow »

As the morning regulars once again enjoyed breakfast on the patio at the Egg and I, several large boulders sat between them and the cars zipping by on Sahara Avenue.

The landscaping boulders were strategically placed before the restaurant’s reopening today to prevent a repeat of last month’s tragedy in which a car launched onto the patio and into the side of the building, seriously injuring 10 people.

This morning, there was no trace of the damage from the April 1 crash. The patio and sagging wall have been repaired, and owner Brad Burdsall took the opportunity to renovate with new tables and chairs, flooring, lighting and wall murals.

He said he wanted to give his customers something special upon their return.

“It’s a fresh, new beginning for everyone,” Burdsall said. “I think it has increased the energy for everyone.”

Phyllis Seipel noticed the changes as soon as she walked through the doorway.

“My goodness, it’s so different,” she said as she smiled and pointed out the new flooring and an old railing that had been removed. “Oh, everybody is just dying to see this.”

The 40 employees who work at the Egg and I were also back Monday, many having spent the last month working at the restaurant’s other three locations. But even as the restaurant at 4533 W. Sahara was being renovated, a greeter remained to direct guests to the other restaurants and remind them this one would be back soon.

Gerald Neal is happy all is back to normal.

Now he can continue his 6 a.m. routine with his massive omelet and nine pieces of bacon, far more than he can eat. He drops the rest off to his wife on his way to work.

“I sit here and I do the crossword puzzle and I get my mind geared for the day,” he said. “The food’s good, it’s open early and it’s quick.”

The Egg and I is a place where the wait staff doesn’t know the customers by just their names but by their orders and drink preferences. There’s a family dynamic rooted in the place.

For Seipel and her husband, Chuck, it’s like returning to a group of friends who had been away.

“For us, it’s like living in a small town and going to your favorite place to eat,” she said.

Seipel, 75, has been eating at the Egg and I for 30 years — since the first day it opened. Today, she ordered her breakfast, lunch for later and a muffin for a friend.

“It’s so nice to see you again, Amanda,” Seipel said to a waitress.

“I know,” the waitress replied. “I missed you so much.”

Gage Lindsey, the 18-year-old driver of the car that rammed into the restaurant, faces multiple counts of driving under the influence while inflicting substantial bodily harm.

According to a Metro Police report, Lindsey said he "blacked out" prior to the accident, in which the four-door, Lexus sedan he was driving went airborne before it landed on an outdoor dining patio and smashed through a window of the restaurant, which was packed with lunchtime diners.

Anna Lindsey, Gage Lindsey's mother, said her son was not feeling well and was trying to pull over at the time of the crash.

Gage Lindsey remains jailed in the Clark County Detention Center, where his bond is $500,000. He is due back in court Aug. 28.

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