Ceremony marks the reopening of the new and improved Nolan's on Canandaigua Lake.

CANANDAIGUA — Days after standing across the street, watching Nolan’s burn to the ground in front of his eyes, owner Nick Violas had said the popular South Main Street restaurant would be rebuilt, better than ever.

Here’s a secret, 15 months after the devastating fire and minutes after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday marked the reopening of the new and improved Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake.

“That was the bravado,” Violas said. “You have your heart and in my heart, I had faith that this was going to happen. In my head, there were days I didn’t know how we were going to find it.”

Many regulars and VIPs will again “find” the new, although familiar, place over the weekend. The restaurant reopens to the public Monday.

Now that the planning, building, cleaning and worrying is done, it’s back to business — and Violas, among others in the family, employees and community, can’t wait.

The 6,200-square-foot restaurant features two main dining areas and expanded bar. New to the restaurant are a private event room for parties and outdoor deck with fireplace. Besides the location, there are memories of the former place — a framed American flag that flew outside the restaurant, which opened on South Main in 2014, hangs on one of the walls.

Other reminders might not be as apparent.

The night before the ribbon-cutting, after the cleaning was done, everyone gathered for the first drink at the new bar.

“Within half an hour, everybody said, ‘This feels exactly the way it felt before,’” Violas said. “It just feels the same, which is a good thing because that’s what we set out to do. We wanted it to look different, but have the same feel.”

Executive Chef Alex Bacon, a friend of Violas’ since the second grade who has been with him since the restaurant’s opening, said the redesigned kitchen provides the space for the things Nolan’s does.

The upscale casual restaurant will continue to serve up beef, fresh seafood and pasta dishes, like before. Fresh breads and desserts will be made here.

To have the opportunity to design the kitchen from the ground up, and have space to serve customers, is really neat, he said.

Actually, better than that.

“It’s incredible” Bacon said.

Mayor Ellen Polimeni, noting the large crowd of family, friends and businesses gathered for the ceremony, remarked on how so many people with connections to Canandaigua were involved in the rebuilt.

And count her as a fan of the new look.

“What a wonderful venue to add to all the other wonderful restaurants in Canandaigua,” Polimeni said.

Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, is among those who is looking forward to dining out here again. And he said he is excited about the jobs the restaurant will provide and its renewed impact on tourism and local economy.

“This is a feel-good story about Nick and his family and literally bringing a business out of the ashes,” Kolb said. “It’s been a long haul for them. They’ve always done a great job and I think that’s why people keep coming back.”

Many people had a hand in helping the restaurant reopen, Violas said. Canandaigua National Bank stepped up in such a way that Violas doesn’t know what to say, other than, “You saved my life.”

Crews from Murch Electric and Fields Construction and Excavating not only worked on the project, but stayed after and helped clean up, Violas said.

A long list of people include those who brought flowers and volunteers who took the time to help, all because they wanted to see Nolan’s succeed.

Now, Violas said, it’s time for repayment.

“We want to be part of the community again,” Violas said. “I was born and raised here, and doing business here is meaningful to me. It’s more than just being a restaurant that serves dinner inside these four walls.

“We’ve always wanted to be much more than that,” Violas continued. “We love doing community service. We love being part of the community.”