Employees at Hymie’s Merion Deli on Montgomery Avenue in Merion Station, Pa., say they still can't believe they witnessed a truck plow through the building's window early this morning.
"I'm still shocked. I mean it sounded like a bomb exploded," Hymie's employee Jake Domi said. "We were scared."
Domi says he and two other employees were standing behind a counter on the opposite side of the restaurant at around 6 a.m. this morning when a red Dodge Ram truck came crashing through the front window, smashing chairs and tables that were set up in the dining area.
The deli was not scheduled to open until 7 a.m. this morning, so there were no customers in the store at the time of the incident and no one -- other than the driver -- was injured.
Employees of neighboring businesses say, if the incident had occurred a few hours later, things could've been very different.
"It's actually good that it happened at the time of morning that it was, because nobody was around, nobody was sitting outside on the bench. I mean it's usually a packed house over there and there's always someone sitting outside on the bench," Babis Pharmacy sales clerk Marci Goodman said.
Goodman says Babis Pharmacy, which sits to the left of Hymie's, could have easily been damaged had the truck slid a few feet to the left.
To the right of Hymie's is Evelyn's Handbags. The owner of the small boutique, Evelyn Goldstone says she's been in business on the Avenue for more than 40 years. She agreed that the timing was key.
"It's just fortunate that it happened when it happened. It could've killed 25 people," Goldstone said.
But Goldstone also believes that stretch of Montgomery Avenue and the nearby intersection are dangerous.
"Believe me, I've been in business here a long time and I've always seen the people come speeding around that corner. I park out front and I've had, conservatively, ten mirrors taken off of my car through the years by people that drive by too close and too fast. My joke is that I'm not gonna die in bed, I'm gonna die trying to get in my car on Montgomery Avenue."
Hymie's sits near the corner of Old Lancaster Road and Montgomery Avenue. The posted speed limit for the area is 25 miles per hour.
Lower Merion Police have not said if speed was a factor when the driver of the truck lost control and crashed into the restaurant.
The Barson's deli counter opened briefly this morning, but was shut down by the Montgomery County Health Department shortly before noon. A restoration company was on site for most of the day, putting wood in place of the shattered window.
By early afternoon, a steady stream of hungry customers could be seen approaching the restaurant and walking away disappointed when they learned that the building was closed.
Rick Rogers said he had planned to try Hymie's for the first time today. The New York native says he drove in from Havertown, Pa. with his mother Pat Rogers, hoping to see if the 'Best of Philly' Deli could live up to it's reputation.
"We're New Yorkers, so when we heard they were the best deli in town we thought, 'We're gonna test it out.' I mean we were gonna test it out, but now this happened. Now where are we gonna go?" Rogers said.
Hymie's manager Harry Zeisler says Montgomery County Health Department officials inspected the retaurant this afternoon and found the property in sufficient condition to reopen tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
Zeisler says they plan on displaying a 'We're Open' sign [pictured on the right] that says, "We're tougher than the truck," to make sure customers know they're still in business.
"We're just glad everybody's okay; no one was hurt," Zeisler said. "A lot of customers have been stopping by to see if we're open. We were closed, but we'll be open tomorrow for sure. "