ADA — A popular Ada restaurant recently gutted by fire may re-open as early as March.

Paul Tabor, owner of Prairie Kitchen, announced Wednesday the restaurant is tentatively scheduled for grand re-opening the first week of March after a fire ripped through the kitchen and southwest corner of the structure in late December 2005.

Tabor said the insurance company's investigation into the fire confirmed the fire marshall's original assessment. Last December, Ada Fire Marshall Mitch Turpin said he believed the blaze started from mechanical failure in an air handling unit positioned upon the roof of the building. The unit appeared to have ignited the heating and air system and the kitchen hood duct work above the ceiling, Turpin said.

Crews from RFD Construction Ltd. of Sulphur, the contractor credited with building the original restaurant, are now working six days a week to restore the structure, Tabor said. An RFD spokesperson at the site said the roof repair is almost complete, at which time the wiring and sheet-rock can be replaced. New windows are expected to arrive later this week.

Tabor said some of the interior western decor was salvaged from the fire and repaired. What was destroyed has been re-ordered from the same company the original pieces were purchased and will be as good if not better than what was there, he said. The new kitchen equipment has also been re-ordered.

Tabor said he intends to rehire all of the employees. "Every single one of them will have their job back. Our employees are fantastic."

Tabor also said the new Prairie Kitchen will offer customers a new menu upon re-opening that will feature new menu items.

"Things are coming along great," Tabor said. "The customers in Ada have been so fantastic. We never hesitated about whether or not to rebuild here."

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