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Spanky's Stone Hearth near Vergas to re-open May 4

Josh Hanson, left, and Anthony Soland will re-open Spanky's Stone Hearth on Rose Lake May 4, about nine months after fire caused extensive damage to the restaurant. The northwoods-style building features a rock bar like was in the former Stone Hearth. The two fireplaces, including the original stone hearth fireplace, right, have been soda blasted and refurbished to look as good as new. Although not required, reservations are recommended for the restaurant.

On May 4, 2005, Josh Hanson took over Spanky's Stone Hearth and opened it as his own after working there for 10 years.

On May 4, 2011, he will open it once again after a fire closed the restaurant last August.

The construction schedule first called for the Rose Lake restaurant to open a year after the fire in August, but it was then pushed up to June 1.

"Construction went a lot quicker than expected," he said.

Hanson admits he pushed to have it be done by the May date.

Following the Aug. 14 fire that started in the ductwork above the kitchen, Hanson took some time to decide whether to rebuild or not, and in mid-October decided to move forward.

"It's a destination spot in the community and we wanted to keep that reputation and the good thing we had going," he said. Spanky's is located between Frazee and Vergas on County Road 4.

Before the fire, Hanson said he employed 50 staff members, all of who are returning.

After the fire, some of the reusable logs and the two stone fireplaces were soda blasted to take off the char and take out the smoke smell.

The remaining logs came from Montana, the wood floors came from near Lake 7, the poplar came from a few miles down the road from Spanky's, and the rocks at the new bar came out of Hobart Township.

Dominantly showcased, the new rocky bar is a throwback to the old rocky bar that once existed at Stone Hearth.

"The whole restaurant has a northwoods antique atmosphere," Hanson said. "Even though it's a new restaurant, it still has that old feel."

"That seasoned look," added Anthony Soland, general manager of the restaurant.

Although reconfigured a bit, the seating capacity is the same as the previous restaurant. Now the bar and bathrooms have swapped places, and layout is more efficient. There is also a cozy room upstairs that overlooks the lake and the bar area that will be used for private events and as a waiting area.

"We'll have virtually the same menu as before," Hanson said, and an expanded wine list.

Jeremy Timm will be returning as head chef.

Regardless of where patrons are seated in the building, they will have a view of Rose Lake, and the deck will provide for outdoor seating -- when it finally warms up.

Hanson said he's thankful to all the workers who got the restaurant built and ready for opening night in a timely manner, quite a bit ahead of schedule.

"I'd like to thank the community for its support the last eight months," he added.

Spanky's Stone Hearth is opening May 4. While reservations are not required, they are strongly encouraged due to the anticipation of the re-opening. The restaurant will be open at 5 p.m. seven days a week. It will also be open for Mother's Day, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again at 5 p.m.