Happy Moose in Streetsboro is still rebuilding a year after the fire
The sign outside the Happy Moose Bar and Grill reads that the restaurant at 9436 State Route 14 in Streetsboro is “opening soon.”
More:Fire at the Happy Moose restaurant in Streetsboro was discovered to be an accident
But “soon” is a relative term, owner John Nappier warns.
Nappier said the project, essentially an interior remodel of the restaurant following a fire last year, has been plagued by material delays but is finally on track to be completed in time for the restaurant’s reopening this spring. He reckons the opening will come in time for his staff to be able to serve green beers on St. Patrick’s Day.
The Streetsboro restaurant has been closed since a fire in January 2022
The restaurant, a former Eat and Park, was converted into The Happy Moose circa 2003. Nappier bought the company in 2019, facing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Things were just starting to get back to normal on January 21, 2022, when a staff member turned on the equipment to prepare for the restaurant’s opening. Immediately, Nappier and his associates began smelling smoke, called the fire department, and evacuated.
The Happy Moose has not been open since that day. The Streetsboro Fire Department determined the cause of the fire was accidental and estimated the damage at more than $250,000.
What caused the Happy Moose fire?
Nappier said many people had told him his restaurant suffered a “fat burn,” which he says wasn’t the case at all.
Instead, firefighters blamed a process called pyrolysis. Over time, the heat from the griddle in the kitchen caused the plywood in the wall to dry out and deteriorate. On the morning of the fire, the heat from the grill caused the plywood to further degrade to the point where it became highly combustible.
Nappier said the fire damaged the wall between the grill station and the dish room. The dining area was damaged by water and smoke.
“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.
prepare for reopening
The restaurant recently put up a sign saying “Opening Soon,” raising many questions about the opening date. Nappier said he wishes he could give a firm date, but said it won’t be in time for Super Bowl Sunday, as much as he’d like.
The contractors are now in the process of installing a new floor in the kitchen and dining area which will be safe to walk on after February 13th. The project also faced challenges in sourcing the equipment and materials needed for the conversion.
“It took a lot longer than I thought it would,” he said.
The “Opening Soon” sign will soon be replaced with another sign saying the restaurant is “Now Hiring”. Nappier expects to hire about 40 employees for the restaurant, and more than half of those will be former employees returning for their old jobs. 20 people had already applied for the job offers before a job was even advertised.
“We expect to be very busy once we reopen,” he said.
Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at 330-298-1139 or [email protected]