Construction nearing completion, opening date set for Riley's Cafe in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- After a devastating fire, employees are eagerly waiting to get back inside the original Riley's Café in Cedar Rapids.

The fire burned through the roof of Riley's Café on First Avenue last September. It also damaged the bar next door, Moose McDuffy's.

The sites had to shut down for some time. Moose McDuffy's plans to open in about six weeks and Riley's Café hopes to be open in about two months.

Employees say they're anxious to return to their regular routines.

Since September 8th, Daisy's Garage has been Pam Dvorak's home away from home.

Staff and Riley's Café moved down First Avenue to Daisy's Garage after the fire. Employees say that helped with their biggest worry.

"The first thing I asked is what am I going to do for a job," Dvorak said.

Although it's under the same ownership, Dvorak says it's not quite the same feel as Riley's Café.

"You get so used to the same people," she said.

John Albert owns the building that house Riley's Cafe, Moose McDuffy's and City Wide Cleaners. He worked with the business owners to figure out what needed repairs.

Albert says he never expected to have to gut the entire structure.

You know the fire itself wasn't that extensive it was just over one part of the building. But it burned a hole in the roof and that smoke goes everywhere and the heat and its amazing what it can cause," Albert said.

Crews first worked to repair the roof and ceiling. Now they're putting up walls.

The same crew is working on both Riley's Café and Moose McDuffy's. So Albert is hopeful that should speed up restoration.

Riley's Café plans to look almost identical to the original restaurant. When Moose McDuffy's reopens, the bar manager says the business will be offering a full food menu.