Owner bounces back after Lake Wales restaurant dining room is wrecked

2 in hospital 1 arrested when jeep hits restaurant

"Oh my God, what happened?" Frank Rivera said he spoke those words and couldn't believe his eyes when he stepped inside his Lake Wales restaurant.  
 
Inside it was a disaster: tables overturned, chairs tossed about and glasses shattered.
 
 "I seen the jeep was right here," Frank said, describing what happened. "It broke this window all the way to here."
 
Frank owns and operates L'Incontro Italian Cuisine in Lake Wales just off Highway 60, where on Monday just after 4 p.m., a jeep went off Highway 60 and right into L'Incontro's main dining room.
 
A 95-year-old woman and her 81-year-old husband, who were in the restaurant at the time, were injured and rushed to the hospital where they were last listed in stable condition. 
 
The driver of the jeep 22-year-old Conner Sullivan is now facing multiple charges including leaving scene of accident and resisting arrest.
 
On Tuesday, Frank and his employees spent the better part of the day picking up the pieces in the dining room. Frank said he is familiar with this kind of thing. 
 
When he operated a restaurant in New York, they were hit by a fire. At that time he refused to close his doors.  This time is no different.
 
The dining room may be a shambles, but the kitchen is fine, and the restaurant has an outside area behind the building where they have set up a number of tables.
 
So once again, the restaurant is open and Frank's 20 employees still have their jobs, as long as the public comes back for his Italian cuisine in an outdoor setting. 
 
In the meantime, Frank looks to the future of the main dining room, "We reopen this, more strong, ready to rock and roll," he said.
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