NEW YORK — Nick Dionisio is a third-generation boardwalk guy, having peeled shrimp as a 7-year-old in his grandfather’s clam bar. Later he decided to go into banking, but when the markets collapsed, he came back to what he knew. He even pulled his father out of retirement to help him start a fried-fish place, and then another that was a little more upscale.
Dionisio was still trying to make up the cost of starting the businesses when Hurricane Sandy hit 10 months ago, flooding them with 9 feet of water and ruining expensive equipment. His father died unexpectedly just weeks later. The electricity and gas were restored only five days before Memorial Day, the weekend when boardwalk places typically make up much of their rent. But summer business was terrible, with so many renters and tourists staying away. Still, Dionisio kept going because he loved it.