AFTER surviving lockdown and starting to see green pea-shoots of recovery with customers keen to eat out to help out, the roof literally fell in on Jack ‘O’ Bryan’s.

The family-run fine dining restaurant in Dunfermline’s Chalmers Street had to close last month, in the middle of the UK Government scheme to boost takings, when a thunderstorm caused damage costing around £25,000.

Head chef Bryan Coghill told the Press: “I couldn’t believe it, you just wonder what’s going to happen next. It was a major disaster.

“I’ve never experienced thunder and lightning like that for such a long period of time.

“At 3am, we were at home and I thought the house was going to come down, there was one crack that was right above us that seemed just too close for comfort.

“The cleaner phoned at 7am to say there was no electricity at the restaurant, water was trickling into the kitchen and the roof was lying on the floor.

“That’s exactly what met us when we got dressed and came in.

“We didn’t know how long the electricity had been off so all the food had to be thrown out too. We had to start again.”

Forced to shut in March and with the Newmills-based family “earning absolutely nothing” during lockdown, the restaurant re-opened on July 22.

It had to close again after the electrical storm that hit on August 11, and lasted through the night, brought a deluge of rain.

The damage was so bad that the restaurant closed for 10 days while expansion plans – they have been looking to open new premises in the town – are now “on the back burner”.

Bryan said: “I think it was just the sheer volume of water that fell on the roof. It’s a flat roof and the drains just couldn’t cope.

“The water didn’t have anywhere to go and it took the ceiling down with it.

“We had to gut everything and strip it out as the water had got into the walls too.

“The whole kitchen was renewed, the joiners dropped everything to help and we got there in the end.”

Having missed a chunk of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, Bryan said they’d decided to extend it for September but it’ll be at their own expense.

He explained: “Some people weren’t able to re-book so that’s when I thought, ‘Let’s do this again’.

“OK, it’s not as good for us as the government aren’t subsidising it any more, which is a pity as there was more than four weeks of damage done to the industry, but I can’t complain as it’s brought people through the door.

“The response has been absolutely fantastic.”

The search for new premises – they had a couple of properties in mind to give son Jack, one of the top pastry chefs in the UK, a bigger kitchen to let his talents flourish – has cooled.

Bryan said: “We’ve got enough on our plate for now. The closure put us back so we’re totally concentrating on what we’re doing now.

“It’s been so busy, we’ve had to take on extra staff, it’s almost like every night is Saturday night! We’ll have Christmas bookings next so I don’t know if we’ll go ahead with our plans this year.”