RESTORED: The Cafe Book team – Kristy Price, Peter Clark and Michelle Dimpel. The Cafe reopened on Monday after seven weeks of restoration work. A neighbouring fire caused extensive smoke damage to the business in June.

CAFE Book has reopened after nearly two monthsof restoration work.

A fire tore through neighbouring properties -St Vincent de Paul and Centrelink -in June,leaving significant smoke damage to the popular coffee spot.

Initially expected to be closed for just two weeks, restoration work extended to seven.

On Monday, complete with a fresh coast of lemon yellow paint, the cafe reopened.

“We’ve been getting it cleaned and waiting on getting everyone organised to get it done…the cleaners, the painters, the carpet layers, the electricians –it was all just a waiting game,” Cafe manager, Michelle Dimpel, told the Post.

While the fire was contained and didn’t pushinto the cafe, soot had left its mark and the smokey stench lingered.

Fridges, freezers, food and crockery were tossed out, but the few-thousand books that line the walls of the cafewere saved.

“There was soot on everything. Everything had to be wiped down, or if they couldn’t clean it they would throw it out,” Ms Dimpel said.

“Luckily they saved the books, they didn’t have too much soot on them but they smelled of smoke.They vacuumed them and wiped them with a special cloth.”

Workers scrubbed the cafe from the ceiling to the floor to prepare it for reopening.

Painters are still putting finishing touches on the eatery, but the regulars have returned.

“We thought it was going to bea two week break but obviously we didn’t know,” Ms Dimpel said.

“Even though there was no actual damage to anything, it was a lot of work.I think smoke might be worse than if it was burnt or partly damaged.”

Ms Dimpel and her husband Peter Clark had celebrated their one-year anniversary inthe business the same week as the fire.

While a set back, she sees it as a new beginning for the cafe.

“It’s a new start, a fresh start andmaybe a good thing.The regulars are coming back and we are happy for the Firemen that did their job. It’s good to be back.”

She wished to thank her insurer –OzInsure –for the support.Cafe Book is open 8am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Lending supportMeantime, Centrelink staff have rallied in support of their neighbours, St Vincent de Paul.

Both relocated after the blazeand the remaining properties havebeen gutted.

During a presentationon Tuesday, Centrelink staff handed over bags full ofWinter donations.

Vinnieswill reopen on Sloane St next month.

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