PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Even though there is significant water damage at his restaurant, the owner and head chef at Robert’s Smokin’ BBQ is determined to keep serving the people of his Pasco County community.

The storm surge from Hurricane Idalia flooded three buildings on Robert Luke’s property — his home and office, the kitchen and the dining area for customers.

“These are older brick buildings,” Luke said. “The water got into the wall, which could have had structural fires, but we didn’t. We’re blessed for that.”

Luke said the salt water from the gulf that reached his property off US 19 destroyed two refrigerators, three warmers and two stand-up coolers.

“We lost equipment and stuff and all those things can be repaired,” Luke said.

His children have already chipped in to replace one of the ruined pieces of equipment.

“We literally just bought this yesterday,” his son Jayelin Luke said. “We had the same identical fridge. It broke but we had to come out of our own pocket.”

When Robert’s Smokin’ BBQ was able to reopen after the initial cleanup, Luke’s first instinct was to start feeding the essential workers during the hurricane — for free.

“Once we got it situated, we made a post to give food away to first responders, emergency people and people in need and we did that for two days off and on,” he said.

Luke said he could qualify for a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration, but he doesn’t want to accept it.

“I don’t think that maybe I need it as much as somebody who lost everything,” Luke said. “I didn’t want to stand in the way of somebody who actually needs it.”

Even though he will eventually need to replace what was lost during the hurricane, Luke said he is still selling his delicious ribs at a discounted price.

“I’m still running that even though I suffered what I suffered,” Luke said. “I didn’t change my menu. I didn’t increase my prices. Actually, we’re doing 50-cent wings right now. Probably be the last weekend we can do them.”

As he perseveres after the hurricane, his motto hasn’t changed.

“We say it all the time, we’re doing it for the people,” he said. “We’re doing it for the people. This is where we live.”

The second Robert’s Smokin’ BBQ restaurant in Holiday is closed indefinitely because Luke’s family had to move some equipment from that location to keep the Port Richey location up and running.