Oelwein restaurant in shambles after fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein restaurant in shambles after fire


OELWEIN (KWWL)-- A popular Oelwein restaurant and banquet facility is no more after the entire building burned to the ground in a weekend fire.  Brick City, formerly known as the Sportsman's Club, hosted many community events and special occasions like weddings.  And the future of the facility and its reservations remain in limbo.

A pile of rubble is all that remains of the Brick City Bar & Grill in Oelwein.  The business had been a mainstay in Fayette County since the 1940s but has only been under its current ownership for about a year.  Despite the major hardship, the new owner is hoping to rebuild.

"We're definitely going to be looking at a smaller facility if we are able to do something," said Jeff Alber, owner of Brick City.

Brick City was set to host 10 weddings this year and there were already reservations for two more receptions next year.  Alber is optimistic that a small reception facility could be ready in time for the first time of those parties but won't make any firm decisions until hearing from insurance adjusters later this week.

"Our next wedding is June 18.  So they're more or less waiting to the end of this week to find out if we're going to be able get something built back up by then," Alber said.

Meanwhile, at least one major event is now looking for a new venue.  The Iowa Corn Growers Association was set to host a 200-person banquet at Brick City in March.  Luckily, the invitations for that event hadn't been printed or mailed yet.

"We always have a great big banquet every year for the Fayette County corn growers.  And I think people in Oelwein are saddened because this was really some rich history not only wedding receptions, events for commodity groups, fundraisers, this had a long history of people meeting out there at the Sportsman's and now Brick City," said Tim Recker with the Fayette County Corn Grower's Association.

And now the corn growers, like many others, are just hoping to see Brick City rebuilt so it can continue serving the community.

Brick City employed eight part-time workers who are now all out of a job.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Officials say the blaze spread so quickly and cause so much damage, the exact cause may never be found.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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