Mason City restaurant reopens after arson

[anvplayer video=”5164856″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 New) – A staple in the Mason City, Iowa, community, LD’s Filling Station Bar & Grill has reopened its doors after tragedy struck last year.

In March 2022, disaster struck at the family-owned restaurant after a Mason City man, 28-year-old Lil Robert Vincent Barnes set it on fire.

But the restaurant’s owner, Lori Schade, says the fire ruined more than just the building.

“It was devastating to the whole family…my husband, my three children, all my employees because they’re my family,” she said.

Many of the employees are Schade’s children and grew up inside the restaurant.

“When we started, I was young enough to play Polly Pockets up at the end of the bar and we helped our grandfather get this place going 22 years ago,” Lori’s daughter, Lindsey Schade, said. “For us to tear everything down was very emotional.”

The tragedy took a toll on the community as well.

“It was like ‘what are we gonna do now’ cause this was our place to go. We would go other places as well, but this was the place we really liked,” said customer Ella Frenz.

But eleven months later, the restaurant is better than ever.

“It looks really good, they did a really good job of recreating and cleaning up the hub caps that they can. Bringing back the old school pictures, it’s better than it was,” said customer Julie Meinders.

They say it’s more than just a restaurant, this community is family.

It may be under a new roof, but they’re grateful to be back together again.

“The employees are our family, but at the same time, everybody that walks in here is our family and that’s why we’re so happy and bubbly and everything because we enjoy being here with them,” said Shelbey Schade. “We love that they get to enjoy this with us.”