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SIOUX CITY | During 2016, some Sioux City restaurants said goodbye while newcomers set up shop in the area's burgeoning dining scene.

Yet it was the longstanding Sneaky's Chicken that probably had the most dramatic year.

A Jan. 11 fire severely damaged the storage shed and caused severe smoke damage inside the 3711 Gordon Drive restaurant.

Incredibly, the restaurant -- founded by brothers Dave and Rick Ferris in 1979 -- reopened for business less than three weeks after the blaze.

Construction workers, staff, relatives and volunteers raced the clock in order for the restaurant to reopen Feb. 1.

"I knew we'd rebuild because I was determined to keep us afloat," Ferris said at the time. "I've always thought of Sneaky's as being a family business but our family includes employees, customers and the entire community -- it feels great to be back."

Less traumatic was made by Trattoria Fresco, which moved from 416 Jackson St. to the ground floor of the Howard Johnson Hotel at 707 Fourth St.

Essentially, the authentic Italian restaurant moved to an empty space next door.

"We didn't have to move a great distance but the new location required a lot of cleaning and repairing that I did myself," owner Israel Padilla said in March.

New restaurants like Gud n Free -- a 3120 Floyd Blvd. eatery in which menu items don't contained gluten, dairy or fish -- and Eat Fit Go -- a 4501 Southern Hills Drive restaurant that offers premade meals low in sodium and high in protein -- catered to the health-conscious.

More established restaurant expanded their hours and menu options. McCarthy & Bailey's Irish Pub -- a 423 Pearl St. bar best known for fish and chip and bangers and mash -- added a breakfast menu. The Grind Cafe & Lounge -- a 511 Fourth St. coffee shop best known for its early morning baked goods -- added a menu of beers, cocktails and appetizers for nighttime clientele.

In April, the Blue Cafe opened at 1301 Pierce St. Co-owner Gia Emory said a percentage of the profits from food sales would go back to the Sioux City Conservatory of Music, a nonprofit music school founded by Emory and her husband Ron in 2012.

September saw the arrival of M's on 4th, an upscale 1019 Fourth St. Italian restaurant that took the place of the former Luciano's, a popular eatery for more than 20 years.

Co-owner Dan Myers said he wanted M's on 4th to be a fun, exciting place that combines food and drink.

Also downtown, the owners of Rox & Rails wanted to combine sport and country music at the 1012 Fourth St. bar that opened in November.

Eateries that closed in 2016

Opened in the former Green Gables Restaurant at 1800 Pierce St. in January, Crazy Bob's Maximum Bar-B-Que served diners for the last time in December.

Bev's On The River, a fine dining restaurant at 1100 Larsen Park Road which had served diners for more than a decade, also closed its doors following a New Year's Day brunch.

The space will be taken over in February by Crave, an upscale dining chain specializing in sushi and contemporary American fare.

More to come in 2017

Among the restaurants waiting in the wings are Popeye's -- a national chicken chain which will have two Sioux City locations by spring. The people behind Townhouse Pizza & Lounge are slated to open The Wheelhouse Bar & Grill at Southern Square Mall in April. Wheelhouse will offer pizza and wings.

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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