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Fred’s Hickory Inn Re-Opens After 13 Months Following Fire

BENTONVILLE (KFSM)– A longtime Bentonville business has re-opened its doors after a fire closed them for nearly 13 months. Fred’s Hickory Inn caught...

BENTONVILLE (KFSM)-- A longtime Bentonville business has re-opened its doors after a fire closed them for nearly 13 months.

Fred's Hickory Inn caught fire in late October of 2014. Nearly half of the main building had smoke damage, and General Manager Greg Cockrum said they decided to rebuild and start again.

"There's people that have been dining here for 40-plus years," Cockrum said. " We wanted to keep the tradition going, and it's kind of an institution if you will, when people come to this area, this is where they're brought."

Fred and Lou Gaye opened the restaurant in 1970. Fred's quickly became a historic icon -- a place that attracted many familiar and famous faces that can still be seen on the walls.

"We've had everyone from Bud Walton, Sam Walton, Bill Clinton," Cockrum said. "Bill actually announced to some of his colleagues that he was going to run for president at one of our tables."

Cockrum said the 1890s log cabin and two fireplaces in the main building were saved from the blaze. He said they were also able to salvage many pictures, antiques, tables and chairs.

"So many great things have happened here at Fred's -- so many great memories," Cockrum said.

Cockrum said they're trying to mix the old with the new, and part of that has to do with their expanded menu. Executive Chef Patrick Moshier said they kept many traditional dishes, but also added several new dishes.

"Fred's is a Northwest Arkansas tradition, and so keeping those classic dishes and not changing them was really vital," Moshier said. "I think I would have been run out of town if I changed the dishes at all."

Fred's hours are from 5-10 p.m. through Saturday (Dec. 5). Starting Monday (Dec. 7), Fred's will have their regular business hours of 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Saturday.