Pioneer House restaurant has been closed since they had a fire last summer. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Work underway to re-open Duncan’s Pioneer House restaurant following fire

The main restaurant area was largely spared, but restoration work has taken months

It seems hundreds of hungry patrons are hoping to see the doors of Pioneer House Restaurant open.

And soon.

“Our contractor is there today,” said manager Venessa Fischer, who has been working hard behind the scenes to get the popular eatery, located on the Island Highway south of Duncan, back in business following a fire last August.

“I can’t give you a date obviously, they just started [Tuesday],” said Fischer who has worked at the Trans Canada Highway restaurant for 12 years.

The fire was relatively minor, starting in a rear structure before spreading to a dumpster. The main restaurant area was largely spared but Fischer says smoke damage was extensive.

“It took them more than three weeks and they cleaned it from top to bottom.”

Fischer says although it has been nine months since the fire, everyone has been working together to get the restaurant up and running.

“It has been an eye-opener to me as to what it takes. It seems a week or two ends up being a month or two. Our contractor is very busy and the sub-trades are busy.”

Facebook updates have generated dozens of comments, with faithful customers expressing their support and looking forward to the day when Pioneer House’s open sign is lit.

“It’s an inspiration to us and has kept us happy and upbeat,” says Fischer.

About 40 people worked at the restaurant, 20 in the kitchen and 20 up front and Fischer says there were a number of students and part-timers employed at Pioneer House.

“I sure hope we can get them back,” she added.

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