KINGWOOD, Texas - A flood gage installed inside a Kingwood Torchy’s Tacos to memorialize Hurricane Harvey turned into a point of pride for the local community, which is why when the restaurant abruptly removed it, patrons took offense.
The restaurant is consistently busy nowadays, which is quite the feat, considering what it looked like just 6 months ago.
“There was so much water,” said customer Rebecca Adams. “Then when the water receded there was just stuff everywhere. It was hard to see.”
Harvey’s flood waters hit the Kingwood area hard, swallowing up homes and businesses, including Torchy’s, which had 7 feet inside.
The flood forced the restaurant to close and rebuild, which took about 3 months. When it reopened, it did so with an addition: a Harvey flood gauge.
It became a point of pride for many customers.
“People coming from out of town to visit, they don't believe it,” said customer T.J. White. “They look at it, and they're kind of in awe.”
“It shows it's their battle scar,” Adams said. “It's a part of their history.”
However, on Wednesday, Adams noticed the Harvey marker was gone.
A statement from the restaurant says they took the marker down after people complained.
“It was gone,” Adams said. “I was shocked. I took a picture and I immediately posted online.”
Her picture exploded on Facebook with hundreds of comments and likes. Other patrons noticed, too.
“I think it's terrible,” said Carmen Eastmon. “They should put it back up so we can remember and say that we've come back from something that was so terrible.”
Torchy’s listened, and just one day after removing the marker, released a statement saying the gage will be put back up. It reads:
“All of us at Torchy's Tacos have nothing but the highest regards for our guests. Our guests are our lifeline and we always value their feedback. Several members of the Kingwood community strongly voiced their distaste for the Flood Line Marker we displayed after reopening in Kingwood this past December. It is never our intention to offend anyone or imply a negative connotation to the culture of Torchy's Tacos. After receiving this initial feedback, we chose to remove the Flood Line Marker. Upon the removal, we received both positive and negative feedback from several members of the community. Taking all of this into account, we decided to stand by our symbol which is dedicated to everyone who showed that the passion and perseverance of Kingwood is truly unmatched. The significance of our shared history is not lost on us, and the Flood Line Marker will be back and proudly displayed in the near future.”
It's a piece of good news to several customers, because to many in Kingwood, it’s not about remembering the storm but the way in which they weathered it.
“Slowly places nearby are starting to open back up,” White said. “It's nice to see our community coming back.”