The Corner Bar is known for its hot dog eating contest, where customers need to devour 12 hot dogs in 4 hours to get into the Hall of Fame. Thousands of names were on the wall inside the restaurant for finishing the challenge including Mark Bivins.
"We sat in the front corner and ordered their hot dogs platter special," Bivins said.
In less than 24 hours, the building was in flames.
"I thought well it's just a fire in the kitchen, something small, they'll get it under control, when I came down here and I saw the devastation of what was going on, the reality of it, it kind of hit me," Bivins said.
The damage was much bigger than a small kitchen fire.
"It's not enough, the building is not going to be saved. We've got a building that's been here since the 1800's, fortunately nobody was injured," Bivins said.
Bivins is the owner of the business just down the street from the restaurant, Creative Concepts.
"If you're a Rockford person you know the Corner Bar -- it's a land keepsake for the whole area," Bivins said.
Bivins knows the restaurant extremely well.
"I do the engraved name plates -- I do all of their engraved nameplates on the wall so I have record," Bivins said. "The last few years they've redone different parts in the building and we've redone those names, so I'll have to go through my records and see how many I have but I bet you i have close to 1000 names."
Bivins says many people have already contacted him about recreating their name plates.
"I'm going to offer to do that for them for free, if they decide that they want to put those names back up on the wall because there's a lot of people that are interested -- they got their name on the corner bar on the wall!" Bivins said.
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