Hamburg set to open next week

BY REBECCA MORIN | JULY 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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Boxes lined the wall all the way to Hamburg Inn No. 2’s famous Presidential table.

But area residents won’t have to wait too long to take that seat instead.

Hamburg Inn No. 2, 214 N. Linn St., is tentatively scheduled to reopen Aug. 7 or 8.

“It depends on how well things go this week and the first part of next week,” owner Dave Panther said.

A fire started in the basement of the historic restaurant on May 18, which was caused by a spontaneous ignition of rags and laundry.

Since then, Hamburg has been closed for repairs and has pushed back its reopening date for most of the summer.

“[The repairs have] been much more extensive than we thought,” Panther said. “But it’s given us an opportunity to dig into everything and take everything apart, clean it up. So it’s been an opportunity to repair fire damage and repair a lot of things and clean things up that when you’re open that are just harder to get to.”

Panther said the cost for repairs and updates is estimated to be over $100,000.

Front-house manager Megan Dudley said right now staff is in the process of checking equipment that was stored.

“We have to fix things that maybe got damaged from the smoke or just from sitting for a while, so equipment that we thought would be working isn’t working,” she said. “Some of our items we had stored outside, and some items may have gotten taken, and now we have to replace those.”

Equipment damage is not the only setback.

It will take a couple of weeks before the restaurant is in full swing because of new staff, Panther said.

“I think we probably will announce we’re open, but we probably won’t announce a big celebration until we get the staff back up to par,” he said. “We don’t want to advertise ‘yeah, come on down’ and then disappoint people because we are not ready. We just want to make sure that we don’t disappoint anyone and that they have a good experience when they come back.”

The restaurant may close early when it reopens until the new wait staff is properly trained, Panther said.

With the summer nearing its end, and the long wait for a reopening, Hamburg has lost several workers; the establishment is currently hiring.

 “We did lose some help,” Panther said. “Some were going to be moving on anyways, and I think some of them went on a little bit longer than expected. We do have a good core group, and we’re looking for people to join the team. I think were going to come out really good once we come out of this.”

Dudley said the restaurant has received a handful of applicants.

Panther said he wants the restaurant to reopen as smoothly as possible, and for the transition to happen, he said he may have to make adjustments to help new staff.

With daily inquiries about when the North Side favorite will reopen, Panther said he believes there will be a positive response once the restaurant officially reopens.

“Come on down and enjoy it every day,” he said.

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