A fire on May 26, 2009, destroyed the Arnie's Restaurant on Leonard St. NW.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - After a fire destroyed their Leonard Street business in 2009, the owners of Arnie's Restaurant promised they would rebuild.
It's taken two and a half years, but the rebuilding process is now underway.
"We are going to have a ground breaking in the next ten days," said Arnie's President Erik Fahlen. "It's going to be a beautiful new restaurant."
The Arnie's on Leonard Street NW was demolished after an electrical fire destroyed the business on May 26, 2009.
The first phase of the rebuilding effort is already finished. A few weeks ago, a small Arnie's sandwich and coffee shop opened on the Leonard Street site. The big new restaurant will go in alongside.
"We are starting kind of small and we are going to build up," said Arnie's hostess Kate Nesbitt. "We have had a lot of customers come in and kind of say, 'Praise God'. We have a lot of older clientele that come in and they miss this place."
The sandwich shop will re-establish Arnie's on Grand Rapid's west side during construction of the new restaurant. The owner says the full size Arnie's should be open by summer.
"We had a strong following when the restaurant burned down," said Fahlen. "I think we are going to get all that back and then some."
"I think it's awesome," says west side resident Tina Kruger. "We need a restaurant like that. I'm looking forward to it."