Estill County Restaurant stays afloat during flooding


ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- Estill County is still dealing with a flooded Kentucky River after high rains over the weekend caused the river to rise to above 26 feet, more than double its normal depth.

But no matter how high the water rises, one river-side restaurant will stay afloat.

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Like many restaurants, Rader’s River Grill in Irvine is know for its good cooking.

“We have a breakfast buffet three days a week. Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” said Jerry Stacy of Estill County.

But unlike many restaurants, Rader’s is also know for something else.

“The only one in the world that’s supposed to float I think. It floats. The restaurant floats,” said Donald Curtis of Estill County.

The restaurant floats and it’s been bobbing above flood waters here on the banks of the Kentucky River for decades.

“That’s been in the 60’s when it was made to float and it’s been floating ever since,” said Stacy.

So what does it take to get a restaurant to float on flood water, the guys here say all you have to do is install a few feet of Styrofoam under this entire building, that makes it buoyant on the water.

But you also need to install tall polls to attach the building to to make sure it doesn’t go floating down the river.

Those here actually told me they had to increase the height of these polls one year due to record flooding.

“See the February mark there. That’s where the water was one year and then the next year, few years later it came in to the second black mark on that wall. That’s when they realized they had to add to the pipe because it only went that high and then it locked up there. It got tight because water was pushing up on it,” said Stacy.

This year’s flooding is nothing like those record years, right now the restaurant is floating just about two feet above its foundation but while the Styrofoam and polls can keep it from getting water damage, they can’t stop the restaurant from having to close down, something many people here wish wasn’t the case.

“A lot of people know this one. See there’s people coming and going right now. You done have four or five cars through here since me and you been talking. They know they can’t eat,” said Stacy.

For people wanting to grab a bite here, don’t worry, those here say once the restaurant is back on the ground it should be back ready to serve that good cooking within a day or so.