NEW BUFFALO -- The Stray Dog is coming back. The popular New Buffalo restaurant, The Stray Dog Bar and Grill, will re-open next spring. The beach front destination was destroyed by fire in July.
On this morning, Tony Key is fishing for his dinner off a pier in New Buffalo.
"I thought I would come up here this morning and give it a shot. As you see, had a little bit of luck," says Key as he holds up a large salmon.
Good thing, since a popular dinner destination here is closed until further notice. There is a gaping hole where the Stray Dog Bar and Grill used to be along North Whittaker Street in New Buffalo. It has been gone since July. In the middle of a record breaking summer and a full house dinner rush, an electrical issue turned the lake shore restaurant into a burning beacon.
"Stray Dog is coming back. The city is thrilled stray dog is coming back," says New Buffalo City Manager Rusty Geisler.
He says the city is working with the owners to make sure they are able to rebuild.
Demolition crews have nearly cleared the old site and the owner says he plans to rebuild on the same spot, and open next spring. That won't be soon enough for many patrons who were devastated to hear of the fire. Many have left encouraging notes at the site and on the company's Facebook page.
"It is an attraction," says Geisler, "People do get off our Amtrak platform to go to Stray Dog, go to the beach, go back to Chicago and enjoy their day in New Buffalo."
And while other restaurant owners in the area say they aren't noticing much of a change in business, they do say, they would like the Stray Dog to return.
"It is positive because," says Roman Vyskocil, the owner of Rosie's Restaurant just down the street from Stray Dog. "The more restaurants you have the more people is going to draw to the area and everyone is going to benefit from that."
This means hungry patrons, who in the meantime, like Tony Key will have to get their fish sandwich from the lake.
There is a zoning board meeting on Monday, September 24 and a Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 25. The Stray dog is asking the city for a variance on parking.
While the owner didn't want to speculate on exactly when the restaurant would open, Geisler says the city hopes the restaurant will be open in time for Memorial Day.