CANNON BEACH — A Cannon Beach fixture in fine dining will soon be back in business, a year after fire destroyed the building.

The Bistro at 263 N. Hemlock began rebuilding on March 1, co-owner Matt Dueber said, and construction is expected to be complete by July 1.

“Everybody lined up and got things done,” he said. “We’ve also been blessed with good weather. So far, so good.”

Dueber and his wife, Anita, hope to have the restaurant open by mid-July.

“If we open on the twelfth we should feature smoked fish,” Matt joked.

“Yes, smoked oysters, smoked salmon, smoky martinis,” Anita piled on.

“Have a little fun,” Matt replied.

Anita said, “We’re definitely looking forward to being open, getting our clientele back and being back to work.”

A Business Owner’s Nightmare

A broken wire on a refrigerator power cord started the fire on July 12, 2012, that destroyed the original restaurant they had run for 26 years.

“The breaker should have tripped, but it didn’t,” Dueber said.

He got the dreaded call about 1 a.m.

“Any other time I would have noticed it,” he said. “It was just the wrong time of day and the wrong time of year,” hitting at the peak of the tourist season.

“I remember hearing the sirens,” he said. “You never think about it being your own business. For a while after that it gave me jolt every time I heard a siren.”

The blaze did minor damage to the building next door, but Dueber is thankful there wasn’t more damage. If the fire had hit an exposed gas line outside the building it could have been a disaster, he said.

Outdoor Seating

The new restaurant rising from the ashes will be larger than the original. It will have seating for 40 to 45 with 11 tables in the dining room and four in the bar. In addition, the restaurant is adding outdoor seating for the warmer, drier season.

It’s 400 square feet larger than the original Bistro, Matt said, so the kitchen had to be bigger to accommodate the larger crowd.

The Duebers will operate seven nights a week and expect to have 20 people on staff.

“We’ll be hiring a lot of new people we haven’t had in here before,” Matt said.

There will be some familiar faces too, but Matt is excited for the newcomers. They’ll bring fresh ideas, he said

Musician Wes Wahrmund will on hand to play music every weekend.

“Adds a little class to the dining room,” Matt said.

There will be fine wine, new bartenders, new cooks.

What’s Cookin

The Bistro’s regulars will find many of Matt’s signature dishes on the menu when the restaurant reopens, including seafood stew and linguini, Anita said.

Matt takes pride in making the pasta, seafood, desserts and other dishes fresh daily. Even the dressings are made fresh, Anita said.

Community Support

Residents threw their support to the Duebers after the fire, Matt said. Once construction started the contractor, Merserelli Construction, half-jokingly said he wanted to put up a fence around the site because so many people stopped by wanting a tour of the new building.

Bruce’s Candy Kitchen just across the street even had a pool going hinged on the date The Bistro reopens. The pool’s closed now, but the winner gets a gift certificate to the The Bistro.

“So whenever somebody asks me, ‘When are you reopening?’ I ask them, ‘Are you in the Pool?’” Matt said.

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