Reconstruction effort at diner nearing completion
By RANDY GONZALES
Almost a year after a fire closed its doors, K's Homestyle Diner hopes to reopen by the end of the month.
Kim Leiker, with her sister Kari Geerdes, opened the restaurant at 3402 Vine, the site of the former Village Inn Pancake House, a year ago today. They were barely open a month when an early-morning fire Nov. 5 gutted the inside of the restaurant. The fire was determined to have been caused by spontaneous combustion of oily rags.
The sisters were determined to start over, but they were surprised by how long it would take.
"They pretty much told us in the beginning it probably was going to be about a year," Leiker said. "You just don't realize how long it takes.
"Getting everybody down there, and all the insurance straightened out, takes about a year. I didn't understand that at first, I was thinking six months it would be back again, but no."
The last 11 months have been difficult for Leiker and her sister, she said.
"Still a little stressed, but getting more relieved," Leiker said. "Finally starting to see the end of it. Can't wait."
Workers have been busy inside, putting in carpet and fixtures, doing electrical work and painting.
"We're starting to get excited about it, finally starting to come to the end of construction," Leiker said.
The sisters were first-time restaurant owners when they opened last year. They have a better handle on what to expect this time.
"Everything's going to go great," Leiker said. "We made some changes to the way the building was set up so it would be more efficient.
"Everything's going to run smooth. We have very high hopes."