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"By Tuesday afternoon we were selling hundreds of chicken wings," Cavendar says. "We just kind of gave up on the menu, and I had the waitresses bring out big platters of wings, and we priced them by the half dozen. They went fast, you can believe it."
Word of Ray's bounty has spread as far as the Hilton Hotel in West Palm Beach. The Hilton's kitchen called Ray Wednesday afternoon begging for "1,000 chicken wings and 1,000 chicken tenders." He's thinking it over.
Across the street, at Prime 707, Raphael Abbenante and his wife who owned Lynora's Italian restaurant for 35 years are sitting in the dark, eating a plate of pasta with general manager Chris Byrne, and lending moral support to their son Angelo, who opened 707 last February. Byrne is on the phone, wrapping up a deal for two generators. They've got steaks thawing in their freezers and no line on fresh ice. But Byrne is sanguine. "We have no power, but we're not three feet under water, and the building is still standing," Byrne says. "People should take advantage of the break for a few days. Camp out, stay off the roads, enjoy your family."
Lake Worth owns its own power plant. By late Wednesday, other cities serviced by Florida Power & Light were already sporadically getting their power back; by Thursday morning the streetlights in Atlantis, Lake Worth's closest neighbor, were flickering back to life. But the only thing flickering at Ray's Key West Grille are the candles lined up on the kitchen call window. "The mayor was in here today," Marsha Cavendar says, speaking of Lake Worth's Marc Drautz. "He said we've got major grid problems. It could be a month until we have our power back on."
So what'll Ray's do for a month without power? "We'll stay open just like we're doing," Cavendar says. "People feel at home here, and they need somewhere to go for a while, just to get away and de-stress. They want to be with other people and relax. We think that's what we're here for."