By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A restaurant in a historic building in Red Wing is set to re-open after an impaired driver ran into it.

The impact sent tons of brick and mortar tumbling to the ground. Many weren’t sure if the building could be saved. But Red Wing residents and business leaders came together to help preserve a Liberty’s Restaurant.

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Work to bring this historic building back to life again has been non-stop ever since it was severely damaged three weeks ago on Thursday.

Many in town come down to watch crews restore this building built in the late-1800s brick by brick.

“We’re just so happy and thankful that it’s able to be salvaged. When I first saw it I was like that’s got to be the end of it but fortunately they are putting the money and the effort into rebuilding it and its going to be back better than ever,” said Ben Norman.

Owner Doug Noreen gets emotional  every time he visits the site. “Overwhelmingly positive it’s amazing I get choked up every time I talk about it everyone has been so incredible,” Noreen said.

Noreen says none of this would be possible without the hard work of the crews, Red Wing residents and business owners.

“A couple of different companies involved in this, Bauer and Bolander, companies out of the Twin Cities, they dropped some of the project that they had and they came and jumped on us right way a couple of the guys who work for the company are local guys,” he said.

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Other locals donated money to make sure restaurant workers, delivery drivers and the people who live above the restaurant have financial support during re-construction.

Noreen says local business owners are selling his dressing and Bloody Mary mix to help him and his staff. Other business owners are selling t-shirts with proceeds going back to Liberty Restaurant.

“This is small town America at its best,” said Ben Norman.

Locals are proud of their efforts and no one is more humbled and grateful than this third generation owner.

“Small town really stepped up and I’m glad to call Red Wing my home,” Noreen said.

Three of the four dining sections will be open and ready for customers on Oct. 1.

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Three of the five tenants are back in their homes. Noreen says the most damaged section of the building will open sometime in the Summer of 2021.

Reg Chapman