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Water crisis partly blamed for restaurant closure

CHARLESTON, W.Va.– A Charleston restaurant — which is among the businesses that have sued Freedom Industries over its chemical leak into the Elk River — announced Tuesday that it’s closing, at least in part over the recent water crisis.

“This year has not been a good one,” read a post on Thelma Fay’s Deli’s Facebook page on Tuesday. “From the water crisis to the unexpected weather … one disaster for business after another. Financially I just can’t recover from this.”

The restaurant, at 1219 Washington St. E. across from CAMC General Hospital, will close on Thursday, according to the Facebook post.

Michael Fink has owned and managed the deli located at 1219 Washington St. E for the past four and a half years. The locally owned café serves up salads, soups, New York deli-style sandwiches, hoagies, hot dogs, beef and veggie burgers. Thelma’s is also home to what claims to be Charleston’s biggest sandwich, the “Monster” which packs more than one pound of corned beef, pastrami, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese onto rye bread with Thousand Island dressing.

Restaurant staff did not want to talk to a reporter on Tuesday.

Thelma Fay’s Deli has filed a lawsuit against Freedom Industries for contaminating its water. Like the rest of the suits against Freedom, that lawsuit is pending in federal bankruptcy court now that Freedom has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“That’s a class-action on the water issue — that case focuses exclusively on restaurants who lost income from the lack of operation of water crisis,” said Stephen Myers, the attorney who filed the lawsuit. He didn’t know if the case would eventually land in federal or state court.

Matt Ballard, president and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance, said the water crisis continues to impact local businesses…

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