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Spanky's announces rebuilding plans

After Spanky's Stone Hearth restaurant near Vergas burned in the early hours of Aug. 14, owner Josh Hanson and his crew heard an outpouring of support and condolences for their loss.

And when the group announced last week via Facebook that they would be rebuilding, the support poured in as well.

Hanson said it's that support from patrons, near and far, that helped in his decision to rebuild the restaurant that has become a destination for many.

Around 1 a.m. on Aug. 14, Hanson, half a dozen employees and half a dozen patrons were in the restaurant when they noticed smoke coming out of the ceiling fan. They turned it off and realized the smoke was a much larger problem than a ceiling fan.

"It started in the duct work above the kitchen," Hanson said, adding that the fire marshal and a "cause and origin" expert with his insurance agency determined that.

"I just want to make it clear," he said. "It was no fault of anybody's."

After insurance adjusters visited the facility, it was determined that "to the extent of the insurance policy, it was a total loss."

The inside of the building is now charred. All of its furnishings have been removed, and most have been disposed of, all blacken from the smoke.

But, on a happier note, "I've decided to rebuild and reformat the layout of the restaurant," Hanson said.

The building he plans to open next June will still have the same wood motif and cabin-style feel to it, but the dining room will be smaller, and the lounge area will be extended.

There will be a wine cellar for private parties, and several private meeting rooms.

Hanson promises the same great menu and dishes.

His brother, Anthony Soland, serves as general manager of the restaurant, and Hanson said he too "will play an integral part in the rebuilding process."

Demolition will begin this week on the burned building, and Hanson said he hoped to have a shell up before winter comes so the restaurant can be up and running "very tentatively by next June."

In the meantime, Hanson has started a catering service for parties numbering anywhere from 10 to 300. Those interested can call Spanky's at 334-3555.

The support of the surrounding area has been great, Hanson said.

"I want to thank all the patrons," he said. "I look forward to the future and returning this spring."

There were rumors after the fire about Hanson possibly relocating his business, but he said there is no truth to them. He's got the perfect location, and he's had great clientele in the past and they will come back, he added.

"It's become a destination, really," he said of the restaurant, situated centrally in the lakes area on Rose Lake.

From the messages of support from people all over posted on Facebook, it seems Hanson is right.