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Dallas Business Owners Slammed By Tornado Wonder How Soon They Can Reopen, Rebuild

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — After being slammed by an EF-3 tornado 10 days ago, business owners at one of Dallas' most well-known intersections — Preston Road and Royal Lane — are trying to rebuild and reopen.

But for those CBS 11 reporter Jack Fink spoke with, the main question is how soon can they welcome-back their customers.

On Wednesday, Tom Ruggeri returned to his beloved Ruggeri's restaurant for the second time since the tornado blew through, which knocked down a 12 foot wall inside.

"I've been here 52 years in this town. Never seen a tornado, and here it is," Ruggeri said.

Thankfully, his customers were sitting across the room.

"Had this happened at 8 o'clock, we had two tables here. That table, they could have easily got killed," he said.

It's the first time since Ruggeri opened at the southwest corner of Preston and Royal 13 years ago, that he can't serve lunch or dinner to his loyal customers.

"I know everybody and they all know me, and they know my food is good and it's just like the neighborhood go to place," he said.

But despite the mess, he vows to re-open here better than before.

"I think it's one of the best four corners in Dallas right now," Ruggeri said.

On the southeast corner of Preston and Royal, there's a similar story of destruction.

Gents Place owner Ben Davis said he's growing more frustrated.

"We're 10 days into this, and we'd like to get into our spaces and at least have an answer to whether we can rebuild here or need to go elsewhere," Davis said.

But he wants to stay here.

"We love the area," he said. "The Preston-Royal corridor is a historic one."

Back at the restaurant, Ruggeri tries to remain upbeat.

"I just know we're not going to lose any customers because we're closed. Or else, I'll call them all and yell at them," he said laughingly.

Kidding aside, Ruggeri said he hopes to be back in business within a couple of months.

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