MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - The Dead Dog Saloon in Murrells Inlet is now ready to welcome customers again, after a fire destroyed the building in February.
Dead Dog was buzzing with activity Wednesday ahead of a private party in the evening.
"We've got an invite list of all the people who helped us open, A&I, BB&T, Puckett Scheetz & Hogan, a lot of folks who come in here all the time, our regulars, our customers who have come in here for years," explained John Campbell with Dead Dog.
After the private party, the public is invited to the Dead Dog Saloon. There will be live music later in the evening.
Then on Thursday, Dead Dog will open for its regular schedule starting at 11 a.m.
There were lots of last-minute preparations Wednesday. Employees were working hard to be sure everything was ready for the soft opening.
"It seems like just yesterday we walked up and there was nothing left," said assistant Manger Robbie Haselden. "So it's incredible what they've done."
The last day of preparation was a reflection of the break-neck pace the rebuild took from day one. The rebuilding took only 83 days.
"We've got what's a small hurricane going on, you can hear it in the background, so nothing's ever easy," Campbell said Wednesday afternoon. "But we have the new roof on the deck. It's leak-proof, and it's going to be a fun night."
The restaurant is a favorite for locals and visitors, and Haselden said once everything's in place and people come through the front doors again, they will immediately notice changes made possible by the rebuild.
"It's very friendly to your customers. It's very friendly to our staff," He said. "We can be mobile. We can move around. We have a lot of space - a lot of different options, exits, entrances. There's anything and everything you could want in this building."
A popular tree that shaded the back deck could not be saved though. So Campbell salvaged parts of it for artwork like a carved marlin that now hangs over the main door to the new covered deck. It is just one of the many things now in place for the re-opening.
"We'll be ready tonight," Campbell said Wednesday afternoon. "We won't be done. The glue will still be drying in certain spots and what not, but we will be ready for business, and we can't wait."
Haselden said the community support has been great since the restaurant burned. He said lots of people have been eagerly waiting for the re-opening, so just as he is ready to get back to work, he is glad to welcome customers back.
"I think the turnout in the next couple of days is going to be incredible," He said. "I don't think this Marsh Walk has seen a crowd like what's coming."