"It was horrible," a still-shaken Himmel said of the June 2 disaster that destroyed the building. "I never imagined anything like this could happen."
The old brick edifice, owned by local entrepreneur Lynne Alfred, was being remodeled as a future home for Himmel's restaurant when the roof caved in, taking the rest of the building with it. (No one was injured; experts suspect heavy rains contributed to the destruction.) Today, where the upscale jazz club and eatery was expected to stand, there's nothing to see but a wreckage-strewn hole.
Alfred, owner of The Dancing Sheep boutique next door, intends to rebuild.
"She really believes in the area," Himmel said, "and she's not going to let this project die." And in the long run, Himmel admits, building from the ground up could have some benefits. "Now we have the chance to move the front of the restaurant back from the street a few more feet," he said, "and we'll have more room to install a really nice patio."
Himmel hopes the new building can be completed by the end of the year. "After all, the demolition is already done, and we didn't even have to get a permit." In the meantime, he and his chef, Scott Wuennemann, plan to launch a catering operation; for more info on Boulevard Blue Catering, call 216-483-1623.
Updates . . . Long-anticipated Classics, the upscale Continental dining room in the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center (9801 Carnegie Avenue), opened quietly on June 3. The elegant, intimate restaurant serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Call 216-707-4157 for reservations . . . Remodeling continues on the former Hi & Dry site (2207 W. 11th Street, in Tremont). Now rechristened The South Side, the neighborhood pub should reopen sometime in July, according to owner Sherman DeLozier . . . It's still carryout only at The Old Angle Tavern (1848 W. 25th Street, in Ohio City), which opened in February. Chef and co-owner Matt Jozsa blames the usual construction delays for the limited service, and says he and partner Alex Gleeson are working hard to prepare the bar and dining room for sit-down service, which he expects to launch in the next three to four weeks.