The Stray Dog looks to open in May after fire destroys everything

A popular New Buffalo restaurant destroyed by fire has worked hard to come back to life just in time for the busy summer season.

As you may recall flames tore through The Stray Dog Bar and Grill last July alongside the city's harbor.

Luckily everyone escaped safely but the restaurant was completely destroyed.

The cause of the fire later ruled electrical in nature.

The owner says that it took around 400,000 gallons of water and 100 firefighters to put it out, and it was not even out until around 6:30 the next morning.

With all of these changes there is one item that made it from the old restaurant to the new one and that is a picture of a stray dog named Jack.

If you were ever wondering where the restaurant got its name, it was because of him.

But in addition to that, there will be another picture of the owner's new dog so they say those pictures will symbolize the old and new restaurant.

After what they say has been an uphill battle, things are finally coming together.

“It’s just exciting to watch the guys putting this back together piece by piece,” says Owner Marc Danesi.

“I think that we are at the point where we are putting together the decorating ideas, the siding, the inside of the restaurant,” says Marc’s wife and Owner, Leslie Danesi, “You know, one of the things we really like are the charming imperfections and we wanted to make sure that the restaurant doesn't feel like it's a brand new restaurant. You know, we want it to feel worn and warm.”

“The bar will be in the same place, the fireplaces will be in the same places, the back patio will be in the same place,” Leslie continues, “We added more bathroom space, the family bathroom, the restaurant will run more effectively it’s all just kind of the underbelly of the restaurant that people don’t see

And after experiencing a fire once...

“There will be a full fire suppression system in this one. The building met code before and it will meet code again,” says Marc.

To some, it may look like there restaurant is far from finished but....

“Hopefully next week they will be pouring some floors in there, we can start getting some siding done, they are roughing in electric and plumbing already pretty much roughed in. And like I said, it doesn’t look like much now, it comes together really quickly,” Marc continues.

Out of all of this, there is one decision that may even be the hardest.

“The color of the building,” says Leslie.
“Yellow, white, brown, blue, you pick it, this is a spectrum of colors,” says Marc.

Marc says they are trying to open in May but admits that could change.

He says they're here for the long haul, not just a summer, not just a year, so they want to make sure they open when everything is perfected so customers have a great experience.

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