Hamburg renovation continues

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JUNE 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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Smoke still paints the walls of Hamburg Inn No. 2, but the smell isn’t going to further delay the reopening.

“I’m thinking it’s still going to be another two or three weeks,” said Dave Panther, the owner of Hamburg Inn No. 2, 214 N. Linn St. “Some days, it feels like it’s going to be years until we reopen.”

In mid-May, a fire started in the basement of the historic North Side staple from a spontaneous ignition of rags and laundry. The flames were contained in the basement.

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Every day at 7 a.m., workers have come in to clean and repair the damage from the fire.

Weeks along in the process of cleaning, when one walks past the restaurant, there is still a faint whiff of smoke. However, the basement is where the smell is most prevalent.

Professional cleaning crews worked last week and washed all of the burned areas of the restaurant with high-velocity dried ice. They then went over with lacquer to seal it in.

Seth Dudley, the general manager of the Hamburg Inn, said the most tedious process is making sure all corners of smoke are dealt with. Otherwise, the smell will linger and never go away.

This week a team of cleaners will spray the walls with baking soda and then fog out the space in order to mitigate the smoke smell.

“When we reopen, the smell will be long gone,” Dudley said.

Contractors and cleaners are running into old structures that are delaying the process.

“The process takes longer than expected, which is always the case,” said Shawn Winters, a contractor from Selzer Werderitcsh Associates.

After weeks of rescheduling the reopening date, it seems the restaurant will remain closed for several more weeks.

“At first, the damage didn’t look that bad,” Dudley said. “Once you start tearing things apart, you find more and more and more.”

The current estimated costs of damage hover around $100,000.

None of the famed memorabilia was harmed.

Many North Side Marketplace buildings are historically old, and that has created challenges for workers, meaning they must maneuver around decades of infrastructure in the basement.

One brick found in the basement dated to the 1860s, Winters said.

Panther is looking at the brighter side of the prolonged closure. He said this gives the restaurant an opportunity to clean otherwise inaccessible areas of the restaurant.

However, if the smoke smell persists, that will not stop the restaurant from reopening, Panther said.

Measures will be made in effect to mitigate any last odors.

More fogging can be done, and ozone generator machines can be installed to help as well.

The anticipation around the restaurant is that the experience will retrospectively feel shorter, Panther said.

“Hopefully, we’ll get back up and going soon,” he said. “Then we’ll start calling the politicians and summoning them up here for the fall elections.”

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