Burke cooking up plans for new caféCity will help open business to replace one that burned down.
By: Marcus Traxler, The Daily Republic
BURKE — Burke is making sure it gets its restaurant back.
Efforts to open a restaurant and bar on Main Street in this Gregory County community are moving forward. City Finance Officer Jerry Jones says the goal is to have the new place open by Oct. 1.
“We wanted to have it open for our Dog Days celebration at the beginning of August but it took us a while to get the insurance settled,” Jones said.
The previous restaurant, Vosker’s Bar and Grill, burned down Aug. 19, along with the nearby Southern Dakota Insurance Service. Jones said one of the reasons the project has been delayed is because it took four months for the insurance claims for the restaurant to be settled, with various firms involved.
Southern Dakota donated its lot to the Burke Development Group, which will own the restaurant. The group plans to operate it on a “lease to own” basis while the manager gets acclimated with the new restaurant before likely selling it to a private owner. According to Jones, a few people have inquired about operating the new restaurant and bar.
The bar was most recently operated by Brad Vosika, but First Fidelity Bank, of Burke, owned the building because of some debt that piled up through prior owners. Jones said Vosika will not be involved with the new restaurant.
“[The city] doesn’t want to be worried about owning a restaurant. We would like to sell it to whoever will own it,” Jones said.
Early design drawings show dining and lounge areas with room for roughly 100 customers.
The city will help raise $100,000 to finish the cost of the building but the development group has not worked out the specifics on how the new owner will pay the cost back.
Residents had gotten used to being without their restaurant at times because of ownership changes over the last five or six years. However, Burke has gotten its town-hunger fix another way, by organizing a weekly meal on a donation basis to benefit local groups at the Burke Community Center.
One was held to raise money for the new restaurant, Jones said.
“The community really has gotten behind this effort and it’s really been something special,” he said.
Jones said the goal is to start the concrete foundation within the next week. The 3,500-square-foot restaurant and bar will be smaller than its 5,000-square-foot predecessor but he said the space will be better utilized than it was in the past.
“It’s been quite the undertaking but we’re a small community and if it can be done, we’ll find a way,” he said.
Southern Dakota has built a new office in Burke at 933 Main St. and manager Tony Opbroek said while it was unfortunate that the building burned down, the events have turned positive for the company. Opbroek said the insurance company was in its new location by April 1.
“It’s unfortunate the way that everything had to happen but it worked out for us,” he said. “It’s great location and everyone has been able to move forward for the better.”