Fire closes Spanky's on Rose Lake
Spanky's Stone Hearth Restaurant has been a part of the Vergas community for more than half a century and to owner and head chef, Josh Hanson, it's a second home, a place where he's spent years learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business.
But early Saturday morning Hanson's "livelihood" was shattered after a fire seriously damaged the entire facility.
Just as Hanson and his crew were prepping a catering job for the next morning, they saw flames engulfing the kitchen ceiling.
Four people were in the kitchen and four others were in the dining area, all were able to beat the fire that within minutes, caused extensive smoke damage to the whole restaurant, Hanson said.
From about 1:10 a.m. until approximately 8 a.m. firefighters from Vergas, Frazee, Perham, Dent, Detroit Lakes and Pelican Rapids battled the blaze.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the state fire marshal and the estimated cost of the damage will be determined by the restaurant's insurance company.
Depending on the investigation results, Hanson said he will decide whether or not to rebuild the restaurant that included an outdoor deck, lounge and a dining area to seat 220 patrons.
Spanky's Stone Hearth was originally built in 1946 then it expanded in 1997 before Hanson acquired it in 2005.
After purchasing it five years ago, he said he transformed its offerings into a "fine dining menu in a casual atmosphere."
It was a popular lakes area dining destination, Hanson added, a place located on Rose Lake between Vergas and Frazee that had its regulars as well as tourists.
Spanky's employed 52 staff members, of them a few Hansons that helped Josh Hanson out by doing various jobs from payroll and secretarial work to cooking, serving and providing entertainment.
"I'm very thankful that nobody was hurt or injured," he said.
Hanson has been a part of the Spanky's team for almost two decades --enjoying the customer satisfaction, feedback and appreciation for good service.
"It' been my livelihood and my lifestyle for the past 18 years," he said. "I'm kinda like a lost puppy dog right now, to tell you the truth."
But he remains optimistic and hopeful that rebuilding Spanky's is a possibility for next spring.
"Regardless of the situation, something good will come out of it," Hanson said. "This is the time for me to be at my best -- when things are at their worse."