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Hampton restaurant rises from the ashes with a new name

A May 18, 2017, fire destroyed the Naughty Pines Bar and a second-floor apartment in Hampton. Photo courtesy of Dakota County Sheriff's Office

HAMPTON—A Hampton restaurant celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony, after burning down last May.

On July 3, Eric and Michelle Johnson, owners of what was previously the Naughty Pine, broke ground for their new establishment, Meric's Woodfire Oven and Tavern.

The 120-year-old building at 23309 Water St. the burned down in May 2017.

"A spark flew up and hit the old wood in the basement," Johnson said. "It lit up like a match."

The new restaurant will feature a woodfire oven, Johnson said, adding that "the flame will now burn forever."

Construction of the new building is set to finish around Labor Day. The Johnsons said they hope to host soft openings throughout September before hosting a grand opening by the end of the month.