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Despite flood threats, Ruth's Diner vows to stay open

Posted at 4:14 PM, May 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-01 19:11:33-04

EMIGRATION CANYON, Utah — One of northern Utah's most beloved restaurants is remaining open despite the threat of flooding from the creek right next door.

Emigration Creek overflowed its banks over the weekend, but that didn't stop patrons from lining up Monday morning to get their favorites at Ruth's Diner, an historic business that's seen more than one flood along the nearby creek.

"You will not find better creekside dining than right now here at Ruth’s Diner," laughed General Manager Patrick McIver, adding that the rushing water only adds to the ambiance of their outdoor dining areas. "I've been here 22 years, I've seen it worse than this."

The restaurant is ready for rising waters with staff filling sandbags to try to protect patio seating, kitchen and the diner itself.

"It’s water. It does what it wants but we have a great crew," added McIver. "We sandbagged through one level of our patio. We’re keeping the other two levels of patio."

Ruth's Diner remains open through the flooding threats and they plan to stay that way. They are concerned about having to close the lower part of the patio where they often seat large parties like for the always-busy Mother's Day holiday, but McIver says they will find a way to make it work.

"We’re a little concerned about that, but hopefully the worst is over," he said.

Regular patrons say the sound of the water and sitting out in the sunshine on an unusually warm Monday was just lovely,

"It’s perfect. The weather’s beautiful. It’s perfect here," said Tracy Bendixen.

The Murray resident has been coming to Ruth's for more than 40 years and was visiting with her family to celebrate her daughter's birthday on Monday. She says she's used to seeing the nearby creek run full, but doesn't remember it quite like this.

"To see this capacity of water flowing through flooding the patio is shocking," said Michael Holloway, who added the last time he remembered this much runoff was 1983.

But on Monday, Holloway said the water flow helped add to his experience and a delicious sausage and egg breakfast up the canyon.

"It was just fantastic. You love the sound of the water flowing through. Just great!" he exclaimed.

Staff members at Ruth's said the water seems to run higher later in the evening, but they plan to continue to operate despite what comes their way.