Rare liquor treasures washed away by massive quake
Ylli Ferati was awakened by the massive 7.0 earthquake that hit the Anchorage area. Soon after, he called his father Ulber.
Ulber Ferati owns Fiori D'Italia, a popular Spenard bar and restaurant located on the same property as the old Garden of Eatin restaurant.
"First thing I did was call my parents," Ylli said. "They were on their way to the restaurant to set up for a party. They told me to come right down. I rushed over and walked into a disaster."
Old and rare bottles of whisky, wine, plates, vases and pictures fell everywhere. Over 600 precious spirit bottles were destroyed after falling from the bar due to shaking caused by the earthquake.
"Many years of collecting," Ylli said. "I came inside and just lost it. To see it shatter in just moments is unbelievable. I had bottles in there I've had for a while. A lot of one-off bottles, a couple $1,000 bottles fell off the shelf."
Some of the bottles didn't shatter but lost their tops, spilling what was inside onto the floors.
"Some bottles are priceless," Ylli said. "The collection I have, this is over six years with just me being behind the bar. My father, too, from being in previous restaurants just collected a bunch of stuff."
Ylli runs the bar and his father Ulber runs the show and has since 1995. He started Fiori D'Italia's current location in 1997.
"I lost all my plates," Ulber said. "We hold Christmas parties and business parties and I had to cancel because I am out of plates. We had it ready and all the glass is gone, too. I'm glad nobody got hurt."
Although the Feratis, like many people, are left picking up the pieces, they are still grateful.
"The same magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan and what, wiped out 70,000 to 80,000 people," Ulber said. "Not one person here."
While no lives were lost, some of the bottles lost are irreplaceable.
"Some were just old that we kept in the back for a while," Ylli said. "Dad's owned the restaurant in Alaska for a long time and he's had some stuff sitting around. I looked back in his cellar and just found gems. Some of those gems are now unfortunately destroyed."
"So is life," Ulber said. "You keep going and start over if you have to."
The family plans to have the business back open on Sunday at 4 p.m. The restaurant and bar at 2502 McRae Road is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to midnight.
"The losses are priceless," Ylli said. "I want to thank our community and customers. A lot of outpour from them. It was a good overwhelming feeling though. It just makes you think of all the hard work you put into it, that people appreciate it. It wasn't just mine it was all of ours."
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