BELMOND | A tornado may have destroyed Cattleman's Steaks and Provisions former location on Highway 69 in Belmond, but little pieces of the original restaurant live on in its recently opened new location.
Cattleman's reopened Nov. 25 at the Belmond Country Club. A tornado heavily damaged the original location on June 12, 2013, and what remained was demolished in September 2013.
"We tried to salvage what we could," said Deb Abel, who has owned the restaurant with her husband, DuWayne, since 1981.
The lounge side features tables and chairs from the original location and the hostess area features two Cattleman's signs and blanket of Belmond that used to hang in the business. The kitchen features some original equipment, too.
Friends and family helped the couple spend hours hand scrubbing the items. DuWayne said dirt managed to get in every little crevice, and since water was turned off at the old site following the tornado, they were unable to wash the items before putting them into storage.
While hours were spent cleaning things, the blanket, which was found by a resident near the Iowa River after the tornado, was left as is.
"We didn't clean it up," Deb said. "We figured it has a story to tell."
The blanket is part of a wall with "Our Story" in the hostess booth area. It features pictures of the tornado-damaged restaurant and newspaper articles about it.
The rest of Cattleman's — now called Cattleman's at the Club — is decorated with old photos of Belmond.
"There's kind of been a little bit of a Belmond theme, which is fitting since the community has been so supportive," Deb said. "There's lot of history there."
The restaurant has also undergone various renovations including new carpet, paint, a family bathroom and movable walls, which are about 4-feet tall. The walls also double as sound panels and sound panels have been added to the ceiling to help with acoustic issues.
An 18-foot by 47-foot kitchen addition was also built, which approximately tripled the country club's original kitchen.
Construction of the kitchen was expected to start in March but North Iowa's cold, harsh winter delayed it until late April. The Abels said that's why they opened in November rather during the summer.
A new entrance was also added onto the the country club building — which the couple purchased in January after being unsure if they'd reopen — and the lower floor was remodeled, too. The lower level is for golfers during the golf season and private parties.
As for the food, a few things have been added to the menu but many favorites returned.
"We heard from a lot of people that they missed certain things," Deb said about how they decided what to keep on the menu.
Three-quarters of Cattleman's original staff has returned as well, including kitchen manager Anthony Hansen.
"That has helped us a lot," Deb said. "That's been an asset to have so many back."
Overall, it has been going well since reopening.
"It was really fun to get to see some of our regulars," Deb said. "We haven't seen some of them in over a year. There's been lots of hugs and lots of support."
Now the couple is hoping to fall into a new normal routine and looking forward to warmer weather and being able to serve food on the deck.
"We're excited to make it go," DuWayne said.