A flood of memories - a beloved restaurant in peril
September 1st, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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Every town has a Dot's Restaurant. It's the place where everyone goes to catch up on local goings-on over coffee and pancakes, the menu hasn't changed for eons - and the regulars would just as soon that it didn't.

Dot's Restaurant in Wilmington, Vermont has been dishing up pancakes, burgers and comfort food to hungry locals and tourists alike for decades. The building - the oldest in town - was built to house the local post office in 1832. It transformed into a general store in the 1900s and became the Village Square Diner in 1930.

It weathered Wilmington's Great Flood in 1938, underwent a renovation to recover from the water damage and continued to serve patrons as Dairy Bar and Dot's Dairy Bar before John Reagan took over on 1980 and shortened the name to Dot's.

When Hurricane Irene swept through the East Coast this weekend, it left behind a trail of destruction. Not only did its raging flood waters wash away cars and homes and buildings; it swept away memories. Dot's building, pictured above (see Facebook for a picture of its current condition), suffered terrible damage as a result of flood waters and its future remains uncertain.

Was your local "Dot's" damaged in Hurricane Irene? Celebrate the mom and pop eateries around you and let the world know why they're so special and deserved to be remembered - or reborn.

Using iReport, upload before or after the storm pictures (or both if you have them) of your beloved local eateries that have suffered storm damage and share the story of the food, people and spaces that made it so special. We'll highlight them in an upcoming post on Eatocracy.

iReport: Flood of memories – restaurants washed away

See - Open Story: Irene's aftermath and Dot's on Facebook

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Filed under: Buzz • Classic • Disaster • Environment • Flood • Hurricane • iReport • Restaurant News • Restaurants

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Sue Cameron

    John and Patty were frequent visitors to our restaurant in Lake Placid when they took time off to travel! We hope Wilmington soon recovers and Dot's survives. John and Patty are wonderful people and have worked so hard to build their business. We wish them the best!

    September 6, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  2. beenthere235

    I didnt see a ramp so disabled people could also enjoy. was there? if not, perhaps in the rebuilding, someone will remember to put one in.

    September 2, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Sue Cameron

      you've got to be kidding! A ramp? Is that all you're concerned about?

      September 6, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • Joe Breen

      You insensitive piece of garbage, this was their life, their living and their pride, and all you have to say is,"you hope they put in a handicap ramp ...IF...they rebuild"!!!

      September 6, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  3. Bob and Mary

    We are leaving tomorrow after spending the summer at Mt. Snow-Dot's was a very special part of our time here and our hearts go out to everyone there-Marou (sp?) our thoughts are with you-wish we were able to share one last laugh with you before our trip home-but I expect to see you next summer for our weekly cheeseburger. Until then, God Bless.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  4. James Gagnon

    Dots is not just a diner, it's an Institution! Ali and I had a delicious breakfast our last weekend of the 2011 ski season so the memories are still fresh as the fine food they have always served with ample hospitality :)
    Dots will persevere because if the owners can't find the funds alone, their customers will have to help
    a Vermont Institution has to go on!

    September 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  5. Erin

    My parents have a place in West Dover, too, and were actually stranded up there after going up for what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. They said it is heartbreaking in Wilmington. I just want to cry when I read these stories.

    The first thing that came to my mind when I heard about the flooding was "What about Dots?". We loved that place. We spent many breakfast and dinners there as a family.

    It's haunting.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  6. jillmarie

    Terrible- this building had such a long history. There was damage and flooding here in northern NJ, and I just got my power and running water back (FINALLY!). This goes to show what we take for granted. My heart goes out to others who suffered the storm as well.

    September 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Larry David

    Very sad to look at. My family has a house outside of Killington and not far from Woodstock. Fortunately it was spared, but seeing how Woodstock and other places were effected is heart-breaking.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  8. Susan K

    WOW. I ate breakfast at Dot's in the late '90s, was on my way to Maine. I remember because my mother's name is Dot, I took a photo of the sign. I also had the BEST berry pancakes I've ever had.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  9. AleeD, Born & Raised in Floridia

    Hurricane's are devastating. The devastate directly and indirectly. The best news that comes out of hurricanes is that people survive. The next best is when survivors manage to keep a positive attitude and the will to rebuild their lives, homes and businesses. My heart and positive thoughts go out to Dot's Restaurant and all those effected by hurricanes.

    September 1, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  10. Caroline

    Dot's makes the best berry pancakes in the world! I have so many great memories of fueling up on 'em before skiing. I sincerely hope that the building is salvageable and that the fine folks who run it can open the doors again soon.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  11. Chris

    The damage to Wilmington is tremendous. Dot's, Ann Colemans' studio, city clerk/police station, the old Parmalee & Howe building, places I remember from my childhood. Dot's has been a staple in our lives. We travel to Wilmington for a week's vacation every year, and our girls have grown up eagerly anticipating sitting at the counter and having the fried blueberry muffin before the delicious breakfast arrives.
    I hope that Dot's will be rebuilt, and will continue to offer fantastic food and memories for years and generations to come.
    The people of Wilmington are strong and resorceful folks, I know they will bounce back from this and be stronger then ever.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  12. Denise

    It is heart breaking to see the images of the damgage to Dot's – the bigger issue is that it is not just Dot's, it is the whole town – many towns throughout the state. We live in NYC and have a house up in West Dover. This is the beautiful place where we go to recharge from the hustle of our daily grind... so beautiful, the people so welcoming and friendly that is worth the 4+ hour drive every other weekend! I have shed a tear every day since Irene passed through... I have seen first hand the economic struggle of this town, been saddened to see local businesses close down and now I am scared for these people, our neighbors, who couldn't have had this happen at a worse time... this is a holiday weekend and from the reports it will be difficult for us to get in – if we can at all. Vermont in the fall is what is all about.. driving the roads and taking in the amazing colorful landscapes... many of these roads are gone... a lot of people won't be going any time soon and this town needs the tourist revenue to survive now more than ever. I am praying that somehow they can rebuild and restore this town to an operable state before ski season.

    September 1, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Right there with you. We have a place in Sharon Springs, NY and while we escaped significant damage, the towns around us, especially Middleburgh, were hit hard.

      Just sharing these individual stories puts a human face on a giant loss. Please share what you're seeing around you and we'll make sure the country keeps listening.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:31 am |
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