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News :: Cafe de Klos owner hopes to open in time for IFA convention
· 2:10pm August 21st, 2013
If all goes as planned, the Café De Klos will be open during the Iowa Firemen's Association Convention in the former Post 57 American Legion building, eight years after the fire that destroyed the Hall.
The Convention takes place in Vinton from September 4-8, hosted by the Vinton and Garrison fire departments, with more than 2,500 visitors expected that week.
Firefighters from all over Iowa were nearly 150 miles away, in Chariton, for the 2005 IFA Convention when the Legion fire started on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 9. Soon the entire building was engulfed in flames, threatening adjoining buildings. Scores of firefighters from several area departments, along with the aerial ladder truck from Hiawatha, helped save the other buildings, but the Legion was a total loss.
Post 57 lost virtually all of the items of military history that were on display there. Legion members later relocated their post to the former Doc's building on the west end of Vinton. John Ketchen bought what was left of the Legion property and later sold it to the Gary and Joan Dvorak.
The Dvoraks have been working on the restaurant for nearly two years, doing much of the work themselves.
Gary was busy at the restaurant on Wednesday, going over final plans, while a construction worker finished a restroom project.
All of the rooms of the two-story restaurant are nearly completed. Nature paintings by Vinton artist Brian Parr cover the ceiling and some walls; a variety of small themed rooms contain booths and/or tables. One room features a Bourbon Street theme.
The Dvoraks had run a Cedar Rapids restaurant, also called Café de Klos, for 25 years. They sold that business so they could spend a few years attending their son's college baseball games.
Gary, a baseball fan, has Yankee, Cubs and Cardinals banners ready to hang in his baseball-themed bar area, which is decorated with baseball diamonds on the walls.
Gary said that the first time he saw the façade and the grassy area behind it, he saw parts of the restaurant already taking shape in his mind.
While Gary had earlier opening dates in mind when he began the project, the delays are due to the fact that Gary is doing the work himself with very small crews to help, he said.
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