Fire may have destroyed , one of New Lenox's most beloved restaurants, in January, but the business is slated for a resurrection.
Owner Mark Angel said he hopes the new building will be ready by December. Already in Frankfort have prepared an artistic rendering of the planned restaurant.
The Jan. 28 blaze started accidentally in the kitchen in the early morning hours on a Saturday. No one was hurt, but the business was forced to close.
Despite the rapid response by the , which is located across the street from the restaurant on. Route 30 and Prairie Avenue, fire spread quickly. It took nearly an hour to extinguish.
About 15 employees came to the scene after the fire, preparing for the morning rush when the blaze started. Someone called for help, and the employees managed to drag benches and other items out of the restaurant, salvaging the little they could after flames ripped through the roof.
There were no sprinklers in the building because of its age, New Lenox Fire Chief Jon Mead said. The roof and ceiling were completely damaged as well as many interior walls. Employees weren't sure if any kitchen equipment would still work.
Angel is actively working to make good on his promise to the community that the restaurant would reopen. He expressed his appreciation for those who went out of their way to patronize his other locations in Mokena and Richton Park while the facility in New Lenox was boarded up.
"I'm looking forward to opening pretty soon," he said. "We're going to throw a big party with a mariachi band!"
In consideration of the support and well-wishes by the community, Angel said, "We have a lot of loyal customers. They've been good. We'll be there to see them soon."
Meanwhile, the staff at Olivieri is looking forward to completing the task at hand.
"The project team is not only taking on the task of restoring the structure of the building, but using their situation as an opportunity for a facelift of their building into something quite striking," Olivieri spokeswoman Elizabeth Esposito said.
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