Fundraiser for Nebraska couple’s Florida restaurant

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WATERLOO, Neb. (WOWT) – When Hurricane Ian ripped through Florida in September, grief could be felt in Nebraska.

A couple from Waterloo moved their shrimp restaurant to Fort Myers Beach just months before the storm hit and the business was wiped out.

Hurricane Ian destroyed their RUDE Shrimp Restaurant but not their dream. So, Tj Holzapfel and Lisa Lahners plan to pick up the pieces by picking up and moving these modernized containers from Waterloo, Nebraska.

“So we’re setting up these containers where our restaurant was and the food truck won’t be mobile, it’s going to serve as my kitchen to serve the container restaurant concept we had here in Waterloo, on the beach,” says Holzapfel.

The food truck is already here, but hiring a flatbed trucker to move the containers 1,600 miles won’t be cheap, so some friends come aboard.

“They didn’t ask us if they could do this fundraiser, they kind of told us they were,” Holzapfel said.

Shrimp tacos are on the menu, and RUDE shrimp clothing will be on sale. Since the hurricane crushed the Florida restaurant, the Nebraskas have been among their best online customers.

“From all over the state, we sent stuff to small towns and you think it would just be people you know, but that’s it,” Holzapfel said.

The restaurant’s logo may seem rude, but shrimp servers say it’s a popular catchphrase.

And restaurant owners have taken a variation of their signature line to help raise around $20,000 so they can ferry those containers to Fort Myers and hopefully start serving seafood again in a few weeks.

Tj wears his emotions on his sleeve.

“Eat me, Ian. We took our slogan and added Ian to it and my wife and I don’t lose so we’ll be back,” Holzapfel said.

But defiance over the aftermath of the hurricane will turn to gratitude Monday night when friends remind the couple that no matter where they are, Nebraskanians stick together in all weathers.

“It’s going to take us a long time to write these thanks,” Holzapfel said.

Fundraiser for RUDE Shrimp Company Owners is Monday at Farmer Brown’s in Waterloo, Nebraska from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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