NORWAY — Ari’s Pizza House has reopened for business following a devastating fire that destroyed an adjacent 19th-century rooming house on Main Street in early May.

Owner Chris Farrar was able to reopen the pizza house doors Saturday during the Norway Arts Festival, sidewalk sale and exhibition — one of the busiest days Main Street has each year. He had recently set the opening date tentatively for Monday, July 11, fully aware of what a missed financial opportunity the arts festival crowd could present to his business that has been closed since the fire.

“We were swamped,” Farrar said of the brisk business that he and other downtown store owners reported following the weekend festival that traditionally draws thousands of people to Main Street.

Renovation of the 1899 building has been ongoing daily since a May 9 fire destroyed the adjacent rooming house at 467 Main St., touching off flames in the top section of his building. While the fire appeared to have been contained in the roof, there was extensive damage to the entire commercial building including water damage.

Water from the fire department hoses went down the walls, destroyed the front apartment and necessitated the removal of walls and some ceilings and rugs throughout the building to deal with soaked insulation and mold. Electrical and other systems also had to be pulled and redone to meet new state codes in the century-old building.

Although the building is essentially new in many places, including the interior of the customer dining area, it is set up like it was before the fire.

Farrar has also put additional parking on the Whitman Street side of the building on a lot which he purchased from the owner of the burned-out rooming house.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.