DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One year ago Wednesday a Dallas family huddled to mourn the loss of a restaurant and bar they operated for 25 years. But Jeannie Terilli says it didn’t take long to decide that they would re-build the restaurant that bears the family name.
Before the fire, Terilli’s Restaurant and Bar was a popular early and late-night hot spot on Lower Greenville Avenue for 25 years. Dallas Fire Rescue determined the cause was “electrical”.
“It was horrible” she says from inside the skeleton of the new structure that is under construction. “The vision of the fire coming out of the top of my restaurant just crossed my mind. That vision; unbelievable.”
Terilli is preparing to re-open the restaurant and bar on June 1. The family established a Facebook page where patrons could post their memories and the Terilli’s are selling bricks that will be inscribed and placed inside the business. The cost is $125 or $225 and the latter will be prominently placed in the bar area.
But first Terilli says she must get through the one-year anniversary of the fire, which started about 5:45 a.m. the morning of March 2nd.
Terilli’s was a trendy restaurant that was known for its Martinis, live jazz music and pasta dishes. “Italcho’s” were a favorite among patrons.
“Italian Nachos. It’s an Italian chip” says Amanda Terilli, Jeannie Terilli’s daughter. “My mother created the recipe 25 years ago and you put any topping you want on it and it’s delicious.”
Four businesses were destroyed by the fire. The Greenville Avenue Bar and Grill, Mick’s Pub and the Hurricane Grill were also gutted by the massive flames. There will only be three businesses on the block. Terilli’s is the only one returning.
Rhost, an Asian Fusion restaurant and Dodie’s New Orleans Seafood Restaurant are also under construction. Rhost is scheduled to open in May. Chris McGuinness, the owner of Dodie’s, says his restaurant will open April 10th.
None of the three businesses will open in time for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration that takes place March 12, but they will set up tents and serve food outside.
The new restaurants will have higher ceilings, multiple levels and outdoor dining on the roof. The Terilli’s say they are trying to recreate the same type of atmosphere as the former restaurant but they will not incorporate the tiles or large pillars that were part of the interior.
The Terilli’s say they had about 80 employees at the time of the fire and they say all of their former employees are expected to return to the restaurant to work.
“The wait staff, they all have other jobs, but they’re all saying, yeah, they’re coming back,” said Jeannie Terilli. “So a lot of familiar faces for our customers and patrons.”