Corvette Grille & Bar, located at 202 W. Main St., in Annville, has had a history of overcoming adversity from the day that Jeff Dunn Jr. received the keys and opened its doors on April 15, 2019 for the restaurant’s debut under his new ownership. That evening, a major electrical outage swept through Lebanon County and Corvette’s patrons found themselves plunged into darkness.

But then, the head bouncer saved the day. He arrived bearing battery powered lanterns which Jeff dispersed around the bar and in the restrooms. The staff wrote down orders by hand and patrons had to pay in cash, but that night, Corvette showed its customers that even a blackout couldn’t stop them from providing excellent service to the community.

Jeff Dunn Jr. is the owner of Corvette Grille and Bar. (Photo provided by Jeff Dunn Jr.
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Four months later, Corvette was faced with another challenge – a far more devastating one. On Aug. 21, 2019, an electrical fire originating in the kitchen of the restaurant swept through the building. The ensuing damage was extensive. Philip Snavely, fire chief at Union Hose Company, referred to it as the biggest fire that Annville had seen in nearly ten years. The Corvette building is one of Annville’s oldest brick structures, and in order for it to be preserved, it needed to be gutted.

On the afternoon of the fire, Corvette’s Facebook page shared a post, thanking customers for their support and stating, “We are taking steps immediately to problem solve and rebuild.”

“You’ll hear from us soon,” the post promised.

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The fire couldn’t put Corvette out of commission for long. The doors will reopen to the community soon! (Ashley Walter)

And now, nearly 1.5 years later, Dunn is predicting that the doors to Corvette will be open once more by this summer. “It’s about 75% complete,” he estimated, in regards to the construction.

“The community has been unbelievably supportive,” Dunn said. “Our Facebook updates get hundreds of likes and comments. And nearly every day we get texts, phone calls, or people reaching out on social media, saying, ‘What’s the update?’ It’s just amazing.”

Read More: Fire erupts at Corvette Grille in Annville

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Even after Corvette reopens, Dunn won’t be finished with the improvements. “We’re going to continue to improve in order to stay fresh,” he promised. “The menu will still have all of the classics and the items that people love. But we’re going to keep looking for new ways to offer more to our guests and to the community.”

Down the road, there will also be improvements to the tiki bar. But for right now, Dunn’s primary goal is to get the restaurant open so that beloved customers can return. Dunn frequently hears that Corvette is a place where customers of all ages and walks of life feel safe and comfortable. There is a true community spirit amongst patrons and staff.

“I can’t wait to open those doors and see the smiling faces,” Dunn anticipated. “Our motto is ‘Come as strangers, leave as friends.’ That’s what it’s all about.”

To stay up-to-date with Corvette’s opening plans and see more photos of the rebuilding process, follow the journey on their Facebook page.

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Aubree Fahringer

Aubree Fahringer is a producer and reporter for LebTown.