Del’s owner says he will rebuild

Just one day after a fire destroyed Del’s Eatery and Pub in Eldridge, Iowa, its owner and patrons are already looking toward the future.

For the past eight years, Dave Delvichio has owned Del’s. Friday, he visited the remains with his father and a friend, talking and reminiscing.

“This is all I’ve ever known my whole life. I’ve been here since I was 18 years old, so it really didn’t hit me until today when I woke up and had nowhere to go,” said Delvichio.

For nearly 20 years, the Eldridge landmark has been in the Delvichio family.

“Me and my wife, we’ve been together almost 15 years, so that’s probably it — the first thing that goes through my mind is that that’s where I was married,” he said.

As Delvichio picked up the pieces, neighbors drove by with honks and yelled well-wishes from car windows. For many of them, Del’s is a place of memories, too.

“Some awesome late night card games, some tough talks with veterans. It’s all just happened here,” said customer James Hill.

“You think about just the string of owners, the people who have gotten married here, business deals have been made, the amount of history that happened when it was still the place to be,” said Hill.

With such a storied past, it’s hard not to think about the future. Hill hopes to see Del’s rebuilt to its historical design. Delvichio, too, is looking ahead.

“Once it gets cleared, I’d like to go in and just kind of look around and see if there’s some of those things that can be salvaged. That way, maybe we can save some of it,” said Delvichio.

“Our next plan is to hope to rebuild, and get it back up and start new memories for everybody,” he added.

Delvichio said once the site is cleared, a new building could be up within six to eight months.

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