CAVE CREEK, Ariz. (KSAZ) - On the morning of Thanksgiving in 2015, the Buffalo Chip Saloon in Cave Creek burned to the ground, in an act that investigators describe as arson.
A year later, the restaurant is back in business.
"My first inclination was to kind of walk away," said owner Larry Wendt. "When someone burns your place down, you get the feeling that you're not wanted."
The community, however, rallied together after the fire, and showered the owner, and the restaurant's employees, with support. Some of the customers of the restaurant said they can't imagine Cave Creek without the restaurant, as it has been a part of the town for over 60 years.
The building, along with everything inside, is brand new. The fire destroyed many things inside the old restaurant.
"Every chair melted," said Wendt. "Every bottle melted, everything was gone, except a fiberglass buffalo. The head melted off that."
The original buffalo is being re-built at the present time, and the new structure was designed to look like the original restaurant.
"It's really nice," said customer Jeannette Montes. "I like the way it looks, compared to what it was before. It felt dark and gloomy. This one's like, 'whoa, this is it''"
The owner said this Thanksgiving, he is grateful to have come back from total destruction.
"Don't give up," said Wendt. "There's always a bright side. Things will get better, and time heals all."