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Waiting for the smoke to clear

Blue Smoke BBQ in Alexandria is waiting for the green light to rebuild.

A fire in the kitchen quickly spread through the building at 403 3rd Avenue East on August 2 just before 3 a.m. Extensive smoke and water damage forced the owners to board up the building and close the business — temporarily.

Until the particulars of when the Galbraiths can rebuild are settled, the business is soliciting advice from the community.

"We want to be an asset of the community," said Dave Galbraith, co-owner. "If you see me, my dad or my mom out, tell us what you think."

So far, Dave's heard his authentic Cuban sandwich is missed, as are his vinegar-brined, Texas-style dry-rubbed pork ribs.

The Blue Smoke BBQ building will be razed and a new structure will be built. Galbraith said three contractors agree it would be too expensive to renovate the current shell. Bulldozing of the Blue Smoke BBQ could start in a few weeks.

However, since the site was once a gas station, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) needs to evaluate the underground soil before reconstruction can begin. Because that can take some time, Galbraith said he is looking at temporary sites.

A Facebook poll has the old Tios building on North Nokomis Street leading over a building on Broadway that used to be home to a Quiznos. To post your preferred temporary location, visit

Galbraith would like to begin the rebuild this fall but, depending on the MPCA's findings, may have to wait until spring. As a chef, he doesn't want his customers to have to wait that long to have what he described as "a juicy, succulent, perfect rib."

Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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