DES MOINES, Iowa -- A popular Des Moines restaurant is getting closer to reopening after it was gutted by a fire last summer.
A fire broke out in the kitchen of Vietnamese restaurant A Dong, destroying the kitchen and heavily damaging the rest of the building on Aug. 16, 2015.
Owner Neal Ngu said he hoped to open the restaurant around Thanksgiving, but cleanup and remodeling took longer than expected.
“I sit around waiting and don't know what to do … I've never [been] out of work this long in my life,” Ngu said.
Workers are putting the finishing touches on the popular Vietnamese restaurant that was remodeled from top to bottom. The Ngus installed state-of-the-art equipment in the kitchen that comes with additional safety features.
Once the building passes inspection, the owners hope to reopen on Jan. 16, which would be five months exactly since the fire broke out.
That day can't come soon enough for loyal customer Greg Trumbo, who stopped by to check on the progress.
"We're coming to see when they're open and can't wait." explained Trumbo.
Ngu said people stop by and call the restaurant almost every day asking them when they will be back in business.
"Excited but also a little nervous. You know, don't know how it turned out, but hope for the best," said Ngu.
The restaurant is located at 1511 High Street.