An iconic Central Illinois diner went up in flames on Easter Sunday. It was thought to be shut down for good. But in just a few days, Ted's Garage in Clinton will reopen.
New owner Delfino Naxi said that Wednesday at 4 p.m. the restaurant will open its doors again. This after previous owner, Scott Baum, said just a few months ago that Ted's Garage was no more. Now, thanks to Naxi, the diner is back.
Once a town's nightmare, has turned into one man's dream.
"I always wanted to own my own restaurant," Naxi said.
He is reopening the iconic diner Wednesday.
"I couldn't sleep for a while," Naxi expressed. "It was very exciting, very exciting."
Naxi has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. He worked at Ted's Garage for nine years. When it burned down, he made sure his dreams didn't go up in smoke.
"I never lost my intentions to be a restaurateur someday," he said.
Though a smaller spot, Ted's Garage will still have the same retro-diner feel, with a similar car-themed menu that now includes breakfast, and some old dishes, some new. There's a parking lot where Ted' Garage used to be but just a few blocks down the road, the new restaurant is marked by the original sign that was restored from the fire.
"With the old pictures of Clinton, it kind of brings back that old-time feel," described server Lanette Fatheree.
Fatheree worked at the original Ted's Garage for six and a half years. She was devastated to see it go.
"We all worked together for a long time so it was very emotional when the fire happened," she said holding back tears.
But now, she said thanks to Naxi, she along with seven other former employees can enjoy that part of life again.
"Needless to say, we're all very excited to be coming back," she said.
Seats, tables and a kitchen are all ready for customers, and an owner, is ready for a fresh start.
Naxi says he was originally going to call the restaurant Delfino's but the previous owner gave him the Ted's Garage name so he could continue the legacy. This new spot will now be open seven days a week.