Robert Lewis managed to have a sense of humor Wednesday morning even while talking about the damage to the roof of his restaurant, The Bears Den, caused by the wind.
On the week that the longtime restaurant was looking forward to celebrating its 66th year in Shelbyville, The Bears Den, located at 1837 E. Michigan Road in Shelbyville, sustained damage when the roof caved in from what Lewis said was wind-related.
Damage was not structural damage, only decorative, he said, but it came after the restaurant, like many other local businesses, felt the effects of COVID-19 in recent months. Scaffolding is now holding up the damage portions of the building.
“It comes in threes,” he said of bad news. “What’s next, a meteorite?”
Lewis was waiting on his insurance company to come out on Wednesday to inspect the damage to the restaurant, which opened on July 4, 1954, originally as an A&W before the name was changed to The Bears Den in 1977.
It’s been a rough stretch for the restaurant, starting with COVID.
Shortages in the meat industry made it difficult to find product. At one point, the business planned to open with a limited menu.
The drive-in restaurant was able to secure money from the Paycheck Protection Program, temporarily helping employees.
“It hurts everybody,” he said of the pandemic. “There is a chain effect.”
The Bears Den, famous for its hurriburger and coneys, will be back, Lewis said.
“It’s unfair but we’ll be back and we support the community and hope the community will support us again.”
In the meantime, the owner of The Bears Den and director of the Shelby County Health Department will keep his sense of humor about this year, reiterating that trouble comes in threes.
“Things have got to look up unless a satellite falls,” he said. “You’ve got to have a sense of humor.”