After a June 9 fire claimed the kitchen at Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill in Cambridge, owner Ron Nelson is looking forward to getting back to business.
“This has been the worst thing I have ever been through,” Nelson said. “It will be nice to get up and running again.”
Pending any unforeseen circumstances this week, Nelson said the kitchen at Sidelines will reopen on Monday, July 23 at 11 a.m. Resuming that week are normal kitchen hours of Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Nelson said he was at home ready to jump into the pool with his two daughters when he got the phone call on that hot Saturday afternoon about the fire.
“The kitchen manager called me and the bartender called 9-1-1,” Nelson said. “I got to the restaurant a few minutes before the fire trucks. I stood outside with everybody else just watching. It was pretty frustrating to see.”
Nelson said the situation has been on hard on himself, as well as his employees. He said a lot of his employees have had hardly any work since the fire, and one server and one cook left for employment elsewhere.
“I’ve been doing what I can do to help my employees,”
Nelson said. “I’ve had them in here helping with cleaning and some other small things, but I don’t blame the ones who had to leave. They needed to work.”
Nelson said he didn’t realize how many people had to be involved in this situation and it has been a learning experience for him, and he has appreciated everyone’s hard work.
“Almost everyone we hired for this project was from the local community and they’ve done an outstanding job,” Nelson said. “They’ve put in a lot of long hours and a lot of late nights to get us back up and running.”
Nelson said everything in the kitchen had to be replaced, so this week will be spent wrapping things up and getting the staff trained on the new kitchen appliances.
Nelson, who has been owner of Sidelines for 12 years, said he appreciates the community support he’s received during this time.
“I would like to thank the community for its incredible support during this time,” Nelson said. “I had local customers who would come in with their food, but still order beverages from us. I also had to call some folks after the fire regarding a party they had scheduled, but they still had the party here. They just brought in their own food, but still utilized our bar. I’ve also gotten ‘thinking of you’ cards and many well wishes. Cambridge is a bigger city, but you would never know it by the amount of support I’ve received.”
Nelson said once everything is up and running smoothly again, he will continue to work on the new menu he was focusing on prior to the fire.
“We are going to begin focusing again on redoing our menus,” Nelson said. “We are hoping to have a new menu come out within the next month or so, and hope to do a Grand Opening at that time.”
Nelson said it’s been a long road back.
“I really wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Nelson said. “But it’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Sidelines, located at 138 Second Ave. SE, can be reached at 763-689-9620.