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Novak's set to reopen in downtown Albany in 'August-ish'
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Novak's set to reopen in downtown Albany in 'August-ish'

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Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant has been closed since a Feb. 27 fire caused heavy smoke damage, but the Albany business is set to reopen in “August-ish,” said owner Karen Novak.

“I’m saying August-ish because it might be later. But that’s what we’re looking at,” Novak added.

She praised Summit Cleaning & Restoration, which is handling the project.

Still, the work hasn’t been progressing as fast as Novak would like. “So far, so slow. They’re going as quickly as they can. But whenever you’re dealing with insurance, it seems there’s a bunch of people who have to sign off every step of the way,” Novak said.

Plus, smoke causes more damage than she ever could have imagined.

The restoration work also will allow Novak’s to make some upgrades and improvements. Alcohol used to be spread out throughout the restaurant, but bottles will be consolidated up front in a small bar area by the pastry case.

Refrigerator units that were getting close to their last days also were replaced, and there is other new equipment going into use at the restaurant.

“It’s going to be nicer,” Novak said.

The Novaks have been trying to make the best of a bad situation. The family was able to properly celebrate Mother’s Day for Matilda “Mama” Novak for the first time – or at least for the first time without customers – since the restaurant opened in 1984.

Novak also said that people express their love of Novak’s and ask when it will reopen. She even got recognized on a trip to the coast.

“It’s nice to be missed, and we’re looking forward to coming back,” Novak said. “There’s been a lot of blessings coming out of what seemed like a tragic event.”

The cause of the blaze was suspicious and case remains under review of the Linn County District Attorney’s Office, said District Attorney Doug Marteeny.

Little information was available from authorities, including the Albany Police Department, regarding the investigation.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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