Dan Plank couldn’t believe it – Plank’s Bier Garten finally was opening.

“I’m pinching myself,” Plank said. “I like the new look – the new ‘old look.’ ”

The Brewery District tavern emerged from an 18-month reconstruction project.

The beer once again is flowing, food is hot and smiles and laughter are in abundant supply at 888 S. High St.

Since a fire in December 2016, Plank’s infrastructure has been rebuilt – new electrical work; heating ventilation and cooling; plumbing and gas lines.

“It’s an old building,” Plank said. “You’ve got to get everything approved, all new, up to date.”

Numerous delays were attributed to the age of the building.

Work kept piling up as new damage was discovered, said Plank, who owns the restaurant with his siblings Don, Chris and Bill.

“I had no idea what it took to get this place back in shape,” Dan Plank said. “I’ve never done it.”

Patrons might notice a few new odds and ends, but they will feel immediately at ease with a familiar menu, beer and a friendly face behind the bar.

“I can’t wait to see some friends I haven’t seen for a while,” said bartender Matt Carroll, who’s been with Plank’s for 22 years.

The interior sports a rustic atmosphere, heavy on wood and exposed brick, and more openness. New features include a garage door leading to the back patio and retractable windows leading from the beer garden to the front patio.

Plank declined to say how much the renovation cost.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the menu, chef John McGinnis said.

Pizzas make up a large portion of the lengthy menu, which has salads, subs, burgers and entrees, among other choices.

One of the signature dishes is the fried bologna sandwich, which is sourced at Thurn’s Specialty Meats on nearby Greenlawn Avenue.

“I’m excited to cook again,” McGinnis said. “I like cooking in restaurants, and we’re going to be a restaurant again.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary