Bikini's Sand Bar open for business.

Robert Blackford
Patrons enjoy a place to eat and drink at the newly reopened Bikini’s Sand Bar in Keithsburg.

As the city of Keithsburg begins its recovery from the Flood of 2008 one of the first businesses to open following the disaster is the one that is the closest to the river.

Bikini's Sand Bar provides a beautiful view of the Mississippi River and the boat traffic there in the best of times. It was much different earlier this year during the flood when the water got to be 22 inches deep inside the place.

"I'm not complaining. We fared better than the other two bars in town,' said Bikini's manager Michelle Ferguson. "Those two places had to gut everything. Smitty's will reopen soon."

Ferguson said, "After three weeks of cleaning we were able to open. We've had the kitchen open about a month."

The restaurant is back to its pre-flood condition and the bar will hold a special celebration from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 12  when radio announcers Dwyer and Michaels come to Bikini's. 'We've got two poker runs and a fishing tournament coming to keep us busy," said Ferguson. "The campground is back open again."

"Our boaters started coming back three weeks ago. Business has been better than before the flood," said Ferguson.

"It took a while to get everything started," said Ferguson. "We're getting the word out."

Ferguson said, "Before we reopened you could only go to Casey's and get something to eat in town."

Ferguson recalls returning after the flood. "The first thing we did was chase the snakes out. We came by boat up Main Street. It was kind of eerie."

Ferguson said "We jumped on the cleaning before the mold could set in."

Ferguson said bartenders Missy Wiggins and Stacie Kolb helped clean up after the flood along with the bar's owners.

Out of the water

Ferguson said the businesses that are rebuilding are doing so with the thought they will have to face another flood in the future. "Everyone's preparing for the next flood."

Until then, Bikini's Sand Bar will be open from 10 a.m. until midnight Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.