Bringing back the Bailey House

Several employees and first responders on scene the day of the fire have taken on the demolition and rebuild of Bailey House.

Employees at a local restaurant in Camp Point say they're rebuilding a bigger and better Bailey House Restaurant.

The recently renovated restaurant was the site of the century-old Bailey's Opera House in town. Owners Ted and Sara Lung had just opened for business Aug. 31. Two months later, a massive fire broke out in the kitchen engulfing most of the dining area and the second floor opera house.

From that moment, the Lungs quickly decided they'd rebuild, but questioned who to hire for the job? Their employees questioned, what am I going to do for a job?

Kitchen Manager Shawn Kindhart says the answer came fairly quickly. Ted Lung offered jobs to his employees who could help in the demolition and rebuilding process instead of hiring outside help.

"There's probably three or four of us at the restaurant that have had somewhat of a job, not all the time, but pretty much constant work since the restaurant was closed that day," Kindhart said. "Everything's being gutted. Everything's being ripped out. Everything's coming back new and better, a Bailey House but better."

"I started here December 1st and have been here basically every day since," Jarrod Ripperda said.

Ripperda worked on the restaurant during its first renovation. He was also one of the volunteer firefighters who responded to the fire.

"For all the small people, we appreciate people like Ted, who wants to keep it local. It gives us something to do. There's plenty of work out there, just a matter of finding it," Ripperda said.

"It makes you feel like you have more ownership in the restaurant, whether you do or not. It just makes you feel like it's your baby. You're making decisions as the days go by and things are going to be the way you want them to be," Kindhart said.

The restaurant will look a bit different when it opens in the spring. You'll see the same brick, but the layout will have expanded, including a new dining space which will allow for more guests. The kitchen and bathrooms will also have a new location inside the restaurant.

"We're going to put her back nicer and better the second time," Ripperda said.

Construction on the restaurant is expected to be complete by April 15.