When Cactus Rose owner Maria Pertesis says, “Yes! We’re open again!” the tones of jubilation and relief ring loud and clear in her voice. The Wilton dining spot Maria owns with her mom, Katerina Pertesis, reopened just last night, Wednesday, Feb. 1, after being forced to close in December when the pipes burst and damaged just about everything inside the restaurant.

Mother and daughter vowed to come back, even in light of the fact that the December catastrophe was the second time in two years that the pipes had frozen and ruptured, sending down thousands of gallons of water cascading into the space. The first time this happened Cactus Rose had closed for more than four months; this time Maria had vowed they’d reopen as soon as possible.

It took just six weeks this time to get everything repaired and back in shape–all new ceiling, floors, and furniture, repainting, restocking the kitchen, everything. The last permit was signed yesterday afternoon and by early evening the Pertesis women and their team were ready.

“I almost couldn’t do it, but my mom, she said, ‘Let’s go!’ She’s the steady one, that’s why we’re good together,” Maria laughs.

The mother and daughter duo were on hand last night for the reopen, making sure that everyone was enjoying their meals and that diners had what they needed. It was almost like they had never missed a beat–everything tasted delicious, including the signature margaritas and their famous guacamole.

In part the reopen was seamless because the staff is still all the same. Despite being closed for six weeks–still an eternity for restaurant workers, many of whom depend on tips from patrons–Katerina says she made sure to keep her work family intact, which included paying the waiters, bartenders and kitchen staff. She managed to do that, even though Cactus Rose wasn’t doing business or bringing any income in, and knowing it would eat up much of her savings.

“I wanted to make sure they were taken care of,” she says.

The family bond is clearly apparent, even in the decor. Bartender Angel hung his original painting on the dining room wall just hours before Cactus Rose welcomed the first diners back.

Maria and Katerina are making the reopening festive, including having a DJ booked for this Friday night, and hoping friends old and new will come in to help them rechristen the eatery, albeit for the third time.

“We hope everyone knows we’re back. We’re celebrating!” Maria says.

We’ll drink to that!

Cactus Rose is located at 5 River Rd. in the River Park Shopping Center.