The Bar is Back: Hunter C&I Rises From the Ashes Following Fire Last April
There will be a celebrations all day long as part of a grand opening on April 6
HUNTER, N.D. — When Jon Dickson was asked to be the fifth member on the bar’s board, it was an easy decision for him to make.
“My grandpa was one of the original people that started the Hunter C&I back in 1947. So I have a family tie to or connection to it that I wanted to be a part of,” said Jon Dickson, vice president on the board.
Last April, a fire started in an extension of the building used as a grocery store and meeting area.
It left an empty space not only for Dickson but everyone in town who held the bar close to their hearts.
“Everybody I think was just in shock at first,” Dickson said.
“It was an older building but it was the community meeting place. Didn’t have much else in town besides the cafe that wasn’t open for late hours so it really was a place for the community. When it burned down, 327 days we were without a bar,” said Kathy Teegarden, board secretary.
Not willing to let the bar stay a pile of rubble, everyone in town did what North Dakotans do best: pick up the pieces as a community. The walls of the new and even bigger bar started going up in February and just reopened last week but customers already can’t seem to keep catching up for lost time.
“We were only open five days. We opened on Tuesday. And in that week, we did as much business as we would sometimes do in a month, in one week,” Dickson said.
Added features at the bar include a bigger kitchen, more tap beers, a U–shaped bar and plenty of open space.
“The few times that I’ve been here it’s kind of fun to listen to people who walk through the door for the first time and get a lot of ‘wow’s’. That makes me feel good about that when I hear that,” Dickson said.
But if there’s one thing you can expect to stay the same, it’s the tradition that started after the five men who built the bar sold it to the city.
“I hope we continue to have it city owned. I think that’s a big part of our history and we don’t want to change that,” Teegarden said.
One hundred percent of the profits from the bar have always gone back to the community.
“A lot of people would probably say we wouldn’t have paved roads, the first ambulance we got was a big donation from this bar. I can even remember as a kid, never had to worry about baseball uniforms. The bar would always be there to pay for those things,” Dickson said.
Because no matter what happens next to Hunter C&I, it will always be a bar that keeps on giving.
The one thing that survived the fire was the original sign outside the bar.
The bar will have a grand opening on Saturday April 6.