EBENSBURG - Enjoying a drink inside Off The Rak is a bit cooler these days - literally.
Five months after the bar and restaurant were gutted by flames, owner Robert Kolar Jr. turned its neon lights back on Monday to show off a new look that includes a bar "chill rail" to keep frosty pints icy cold.
"Just about everything about this place is different inside, except for the menu and the people," said Kolar, sitting at a booth inside the New Germany Road eatery. "I've had a lot of folks walk in and tell me, 'It's good to be home.'"
Mirror photo by David Hurst
Adam Stephan (right) and Brian Delauter, both of Ebensburg, watch a game inside Off The Rak, New Germany Road. The bar and restaurant reopened this week, five months after a major fire.
In Kolar's words, this past winter was the longest of his life.
Issues with a faulty clothes dryer sparked a blaze Oct. 29 during the lunch hour at Off The Rak.
Dozens of customers and employees were evacuated safely, but the fire caused major damage, particularly toward the rear of the building and in the kitchen.
Smoke and water damage were also major issues.
Kolar said he wished he could have reopened sooner, but it took approximately 3 months to bring the restaurant back to life.
Inside, the atmosphere is brighter and more modern. Kolar said pretty much everything from the floor to the ceiling has been replaced.
"It is beautiful in here," Brian Delauter of Ebensburg, an Off The Rak regular, said this week. "But it was the soup and wings that I missed." He called the French onion soup "incredible."
The eatery opens at 11 a.m. daily and serves food until midnight Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, the kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
Mirror Staff Writer David Hurst is at 946-7457.