After days of no heat or electricity due to Hurricane Sandy, East Meadow residents have been flocking to local eateries to get something that some have not had in four days--a hot meal.
Panera Bread reopened on Thursday and was packed with customers eating, using their computers and charging electronics.
"We just want to serve them," Manager Jim Taranto said. "They can eat, sit down and use their computers."
Caroline Nguyen, an East Meadow resident and student at Hofstra University, said that her late lunch at Panera was the first hot meal she had in days.
"I came here to eat something hot and for the Internet," she said. "It has been four days of no power and no Internet. I have not been able to reach my professors or my job and it's been cold at night. This has been really difficult."
Papa Louie's Pizzeria opened on Wednesday, offering discounted prices, and had lines out of the door.
"We are here to serve our customers," Owner Jonathan Castle said. "They are looking for some place warm and something hot to eat."
Erica Citrin, 30 of East Meadow, ate a slice as she spoke to her friend.
"I have not had hot water or power and it is nice to get some hot food and to get out of the house," she said.
Castle said that even though the business is open, they are still trying to conserve energy. Only a few lights were on in the eatery on Thursday.
"We have a dough mixer, but that takes too much electricity," he said. "We have been making everything by hand."
Castle and Taranto have had their hands full all day on Thursday, but they said that are happy that they are able to help those devastated by Sandy's wrath.
"They can come here for something as simple as coffee," Taranto said. "Many can't even make coffee at home."
What other East Meadow eateries do you know of that are serving hot meals? Tell us in comments below.