PALMER LAKE — A popular Palmer Lake restaurant is now back open, after a kitchen fire forced them to close for more than a month. News 5 followed up with Joseph O'Malley's Steak Pub, which now uses a food truck to prepare their meals.
The kitchen fire happened toward the end of October. When it burned, it released asbestos, so the restaurant had to go through the process of abatement before allowing anyone inside. To pay for the abatement, and any other repairs like cleaning or replacing furniture that went along with it, the owner of O'Malley's Jeff Hulsmann said it cost around $100,000. Hulsmann said insurance will pay for most of it, but they cannot start working on repairing the kitchen until insurance completes their investigation. "So, we built our own food truck... we're building a truck so we can be in business. I mean, the big thing here is getting my employees back to work, I mean, it's the holidays," said Hulsmann, who has owned O'Malley's for 34 years.
Now, because of the food truck, they are officially back open for business. One patron said Saturday was the first time he had been back to O'Malley's since the fire. "I was wondering if they were going to be able to rebuild, or if it was going to be a piece of your childhood kind of left behind, but excited that the community rallied and came together and was able to bring it back," said Caleb Sercl, who told News 5 he has been going to O'Malley's since he was a young child.
There were a handful of fundraisers hosted by the community to help rebuild O'Malley's. Hulsmann said the money raised from those went straight to his employees. "They care about their employees, we're not employees per se, you know, we're family, we're just one big family," said Kay DeBlois, who has been a server at O'Malley's for 18 years.
Those with O'Malleys said they will be open on Christmas Eve, and will open on Christmas Day starting at 5 p.m.