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ROCKS Lakeview Reopens, 8 Months After 'Huge' Fire

By  Jessica Cabe and Ariel Cheung | October 23, 2017 4:46pm | Updated on October 24, 2017 8:20am

 ROCKS Lakeview, 3463 N. Broadway, reopened Monday after a February fire closed the restaurant down.
ROCKS Lakeview, 3463 N. Broadway, reopened Monday after a February fire closed the restaurant down.
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BOYSTOWN — About eight months after a fire broke out and closed ROCKS Lakeview, 3463 N. Broadway, the restaurant known for its whiskey and burgers reopened on Monday.

ROCKS Lakeview's social media accounts had been active with updates on the restaurant's post-fire progress, but until Monday, its last tweet was on Oct. 13 and read, "Is that the bat-signal or the sign of awesomeness soon to come...we'll let you decide!"

Owner George Manta said he and his team are excited to see some familiar faces in the restaurant again.

"We've had a great launch despite the weather," he said. "Word has traveled fast."

Manta said over the past 250 or so days that the restaurant has been closed, they've had to basically rebuild the space from scratch.

"There was obviously heat damage from the fire, which was concentrated in the kitchen, but then there was also smoke and water damage, which pretty much took out everything else in the front of house as well." 

In early spring, the restaurant was gutted down to its studs so the team could essentially start over.

"The only things that didn't get taken out were the floor and the physical bar itself," Manta said.

The restaurant hosted a soft opening on Friday for friends and family to make sure all the computers worked and all the food came out correctly, he said. They took the weekend to make adjustments, and "today was the morning we took the paper down from the windows."

ROCKS, which debuted in Lincoln Park, opened in Lakeview in 2008. While its Lincoln Park location eventually moved to North Center, the Lakeview eatery expanded to three storefronts over the years. Open until at least 2 a.m. daily, ROCKS claims to have sold more than 95,000 of its signature ROCKS burgers, topped with bacon, pepper jack and a side of giardiniera.

Manta said a River North location is currently in the works and will hopefully open by the end of the year.

"We're just getting started on it," he said. "I can say it'll be a little bit of a different take on the ROCKS brand for us, as it will be only a tavern; there's no kitchen in there. So we'll basically offer a heavier dose of our beverage program with our whiskey inventory and our signature cocktails."

After the fire, the restaurant launched a GoFundMe for its employees who were out of work.

"As many of you know at about 7pm on Wednesday February 15th ROCKS Lakeview had a huge fire that started in the kitchen and spread throughout the building," the GoFundMe said. " ... Unfortunately we had to tell about 35 staff members that they need to find new work. It sucks. We are doing our best to find them new jobs but it's going to take a while."

The campaign raised $8,700.