DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – Even as crews worked to extinguish the fire on June 25, plans to reopen the Chicago Street Pub were in the works.
“Initially, it was going to be, ‘All right, are we going to be able to be reopened back up at the former Chicago Street Pub?’ As the night progressed with the fire, we knew that wasn’t going to be a possibility,” Austin DeCleene, General Manager of the restaurant said.
Turning to other options, the owners set their sights on another property they own, the Swan Club.
“We had this location, it just made sense to move over here, a nice transition,” DeCleene said.
They’re making a temporary transition into the Chicago Street ‘Junior’ Pub.
“It’s going to be a smaller menu to start,” DeCleene explained, “our famous pizzas that we’re certainly known for, wings, and then we’ll be doing a couple of appetizers.”
The new restaurant is set to open on July 20 at 3 p.m.
The owners would not let Local 5 crews into the new restaurant, as they want their guests to be surprised, but they say they managed to salvage some artifacts from the old building.
“You’re going to see a lot of familiar stuff,” DeCleene said. “Obviously we can never replicate what Chicago Street Pub was.”
The Pub’s neighbors, the New Hope Methodist Church, have also made recoveries from the ruins.
“We actually found our cross that one of our members had built,” Congregation member Alvin Kepler said Wednesday. “That’s important. That’ll become part of the new establishment.”
The congregation is temporarily sharing a building with another church.
“Right now it’s still the planning stage,” Kepler said. “Right now we don’t want to rush into something.”
Kepler says community support in the weeks after the fire has been overwhelming.
“From the Chicago Street Pub to our congregation to the community, continues to support both places,” he said. “And that’s what we need right now.”
Both the church and the restaurant are looking to the community for continued support as they feel their way into this next chapter.
“The memories that were there is, you know, we can hang on to those,” DeCleene said. “The building is obviously lost, but we’re excited to create many new memories here.”