LAKE WISSOTA, Wis. (WEAU) - A popular bar and restaurant is close to being fully re-opened, almost a year after it was destroyed by a devastating fire last year.
February 12, 2019 is a day Robert Brown will never forget.
“It was a really scary day,” Brown said. “I was wondering why I had about a million phone calls at five in the morning.”
The reason for all those calls were because his business, “The View on Lake Wissota," was going up in flames.
“I drove out here and the place was on fire, it really didn't look that bad when I got here,” he said. “12 hours later everything was gone.”
Crews from the Chippewa Fire District spent more than eight hours battling that blaze. Officials said the cause was never determined. Once the fire was out, Brown said he started to plan the rebuild as soon as possible.
“By the time I got all my permits it was about June sometime and I started building at the end of June.”
The rebuild has been slow, mainly because Brown said he is building the place himself.
“I was underinsured by quite a bit of money," he said. "So if i wanted the building back to what it was and make up that dollar amount, I basically had to do a majority of the work myself.”
Brown recruited some help and got to work.
“It was just me, my dad, my cousin and another guy that framed the whole thing and did everything we could other than the plumbing and electrical and things like that.”
He was hoping to be up and running before the 7th annual Jig's Up Ice Fishing Contest, Saturday. While the bar was open for fisherman, Brown said there are a few finishing touches to complete.
“I've got to finish my desk, I’ve got to add more to the patio out here and then add the rooftop patio back on. Grand plan is to open when my kitchen gets done.”
Now, “The View” is almost ready to open.
“I'm shooting for three or four weeks, but with construction you never know," Brown said. "I was hoping to be open months ago.”
While “The View” may look different once it finally opens, Brown shared a secret.
“It’s actually the same square footage; it just looks a lot bigger by putting a peak on it,” he said. “Now it just looks ginormous, even though it’s the same size as it was.”
Brown said even though there is still some work to be done, the final product is going to be perfect.
“It’s exactly what I pictured in my mind when I was going over it with my architect.” he said.