At long last: Dearman’s to reopen Monday

Nearly two years after it was badly damaged and shuttered by fire, Dearman’s will officially reopen for business on Monday in the Bocage Village Shopping Center.

Owner David Van Gelder confirms the restaurant has passed all inspections and received final permits, and says he’d like to be open as soon as Sunday. But he still needs to complete new staff training and isn’t ready to commit to an official opening until Monday—just in time for the kickoff of the two-week holiday season.

When loyal patrons return to the restaurant next week, they’ll likely notice just a handful of changes. Those include two new menu items—a veggie burger and fried chicken sandwich—such as a few additional tables and a new location for the grill, which has been relocated to the north wall in the back of the restaurant.

Otherwise the signature burgers, shakes, fries and vintage décor—checkerboard tile floor, booths, counter stools—will be back. “It’ll pretty much be the same,” says manager Casey Evans. “Everything will be just be new and fresh but it will be as everyone remembers.”

The popular Bocage-area diner has been shuttered since the March 2016 fire. Initially, the shopping center’s owner, Hill Properties, said it would not renew Dearman’s lease. Though it later reversed that decision, it took more than 18 months for negotiations and renovations to be completed.

In that time, the Bocage Village Shopping Center has seen turnover in its tenant mix, due in no small part to the fire and the diner’s closure. Chocollage and Ruffles ‘n Britches, which were adjacent to Dearman’s on one side, closed in January and March, respectively. TCBY, which was on Dearman’s other side, closed in June. Several new tenants have taken those spaces, including a boutique and The Big Squeezy.

—Stephanie Riegel

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