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New building, old name

February 19, 2019 GMT

DEER GROVE – The smell of fried chicken soon may be floating once more around this southeast Whiteside County village of 50.

The Happy Spot, 1667 Hoover Road, is rising from the ashes of its former building, destroyed by fire on July 23. All four sides of the building are up, and the interior is almost ready for electrical work.

“We haven’t set a date, but we’re looking at April” for the opening, owner Richard T. “Rick” Lance said. “That’s our goal.”

The state fire marshal’s office could not determine a cause for the blaze, which started near the restrooms.

The new building comes with a slight name change, returning to its original name from the 1930s before Arnie Johnson bought the restaurant in 1967. Larry and Ginny Whitebread bought the business from Johnson in 1999; they sold it to Rick and Angie Lance in April 2018.

An outdoor dining area is planned for the new structure, as well as more parking.