South Loop Restaurant Reopens After Devastating Fire

(CBS) — A devastating fire shut down the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant in the South Loop more than two years ago. The owners vowed to reopen the 112-year-old building, which is also a city landmark.

Friday was that day, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

“Not time for butterflies,” co-owner Laura O’Malley says. “I am sort of in ‘go mode.’”

While the front of the house tended to last-minute adjustments on windows and walls, the kitchen staff was prepping for their first dinner in more than two y ears.

“I am trying not to pay attention to the decorating and just concentrate on the cooking,” executive chef John Caputo says.

That the brick and limestone former firehouse built in 1905 still stands is unbelievable, considering a savage December 2014 fire destroyed virtually everything but the walls.

“It was a long road. It’s been a long journey,” O’Malley says.

When she and her husband first opened in 2000, they were pioneers in the rejuvenation of the South Loop. Now, they are reopening as the neighborhood goes through a second renaissance.

Painstaking detail went into salvaging what remained, such as the Tiffany tile walls.

The restaurant’s tin ceiling was destroyed, but an exact replacement was commissioned.

Many staff members have returned to their old jobs.

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