As of Thursday, January 14, 2016
It was nearly 10 months ago that the Blue Moon Bar and Grill was forced to close following a fire that destroyed two neighboring businesses, the Safari Restaurant and El Conquistador.
But the Blue Moon is shining once again after re-opening last Thursday.
One patron, Gloria Navarro, said the establishment is a spark that could potentially lead to other establishments taking on the responsibility of revitalizing the downtown corridor.
She is pleased with the results of a remodel that was forced upon the Blue Moon owners, brothers Mike and Doug Pecheos, after the Safari fire resulted in water and smoke damage to their historic building.
Mike, too, feels there is hope on the horizon for the downtown corridor.
He and his brother endured a long, tedious process to reopen the Blue Moon.
Doug said, "The building had to be gutted...we went down to the studs and installed new wiring, new support beams...everything."
The process was costly for the brothers. One had to take on a job to pay for his personal expenses, while the other had to use money that was intended for retirement.
But, said Doug, "The structure beams are supposed to withstand the biggest earthquake and the strongest winds...it (the building) could double as a fallout shelter."
The building itself had to be brought up to today's building codes because it dates back to Sunnyside's early beginnings.
"I'm not certain what year it was built," said Doug.
He said the 1890 bar that patrons cozy up to, as well as the bar-back, also hold historic significance. It was constructed in New Brunswick and had to travel south past the most southern tip of South America before reaching Portland, Ore. From there, said Doug, it was loaded onto mule trains before reaching the final destination in Sunnyside.
Because of the history of the bar and bar-back, the Pecheos brothers were quick to cover it as soon as they had access to the building following the fire last May.
Doug said they did add new varnish, but didn't sand the bar because it has a lot of character from years of use.
The building, he said, has new interior and exterior firewalls, as well as many other new features.
Navarro said, "It's very different."
Doug said the process of renovating the building was tiresome because once an improvement was made, he and his brother were alerted to other requirements.
"It would have been nice to know from the beginning what this would have entailed," he said.
"I understand the importance of codes, but it should be clear from the beginning."
Doug said there are still some insurance matters that need to be resolved and the Pecheos brothers are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the owners of the Safari.
However, the men are glad to have the renovations behind them.
"There's a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel," said Doug.
His brother was pleased with the show of support from the community on the night of the Blue Moon's re-launch.
"I had to call in extra bartenders...word spread fast via Facebook," he said, adding the watering hole was packed with a large number of patrons. "And they were all so patient."