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Out of the ashes

The deep, empty space that used to be Bogey's Diner was alive with noise Friday afternoon. Workers pushed chunks of plaster and wood from wall demolition on the upper floor clattering down a slide before carting it all away to a dumpster in front...

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Mike and Sherryl Lefor stand in front of the West Villard Street building they purchased in January and are in the process of renovating to bring a new restaurant to downtown Dickinson. Press Photo by Andrew Haffner.

The deep, empty space that used to be Bogey’s Diner was alive with noise Friday afternoon.

Workers pushed chunks of plaster and wood from wall demolition on the upper floor clattering down a slide before carting it all away to a dumpster in front of the former downtown West Villard Street restaurant that was shuttered after a fire in 2014.

Though the air was filled with dust and the far end of the place is still scorched, Mike Lefor was seeing some real potential.

“I’ve always had a real soft spot for downtown Dickinson and it always bothered me how the building was just sitting there,” said Lefor, a Republican in the North Dakota House of Representatives. “My lunch group and I always went to Bogey’s for lunch every day.”

Lefor bought the building in January and is now working with Roers Construction in a full renovation.

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The final product will tentatively be named Blue 42 Sports Grill -- a reference to the Blue Hawks of Dickinson State University -- and could be open for this football season.

Lefor said he hopes to wrap up the cleaning process and finalize design plans by mid-June. The build-out could take up to four months after that.

Along with a local sports theme, Lefor said the restaurant will serve up a menu of hamburgers, wraps, salads and beer on tap. The restaurant itself will be owned by Summit Group Inc., a corporate body consisting of Lefor and his wife Sherryl and son Brett.

Even still, Lefor said with a laugh the family will “try to stay the heck out of it so we don’t burn the food or spill the beer” and let Blue 42 general manager Whitney Krieg handle the establishment’s day-to-day operations.

Krieg said she met Lefor during the eight years she spent working at the the Links Grille & Bar at the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson. About a year ago, before Lefor had purchased the building on Villard, he approached Krieg and asked if she’d be interested in running a restaurant.

Krieg said she’d frequently visited Bogey’s in her childhood and throughout her high school years. The new restaurant, she said, would be similarly “hometown Dickinson.”

“It’s in a historic part of town, so we’re not trying to bring anything new and crazy,” Krieg said. “We’re trying to keep everything traditional.”

Besides sports,Blue 42 will be an homage of sorts to Dickinson architectural history.

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Though the fire damage created a need for structural engineering work, Lefor said the original building is still in good shape. He said certain elements that give the building character, like the original ceiling and flooring, would be saved to preserve the building’s historic feel.

Rick Lynam and Shane Roers, both of Roers Construction, are overseeing the renovation with that preservation at the forefront.

Lynam, a Roers project coordinator, said it was necessary to “look past everything that was there” in the building as a result of the fire damage and disuse. Still, even in a state of disarray, he said the potential was “evident immediately.”

“You can see the history,” Lynam said, listing features like a stamped tin ceiling, brick structure and wood floors. “Everybody knows the building, it’s been there for years. It’s been a part of downtown and we want to continue that tradition, only we want a new era.”

Lynam said he has a personal interest in restoring old buildings and praised Lefor’s own dedication to preserving the quality aspects of the former home of Bogey’s.

“He wants to bring something to the community we can all be proud of, wants to renovate and save an iconic building in our community,” Lynam said. “It’s a great project and it’s going to be a good business.”

Related Topics: DICKINSONFIRES
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