M’s Pub quickly became an Old Market icon and a favorite dining destination for many Omahans. It’s sophisticated ambiance contrasted with the rustic warehouse space it occupied; exposed black wood ceiling, white painted brick walls, island bar with green marble top, and a “caboose” kitchen constructed of black painted beadboard, mirrors, and brass railings.
In January 2016, a gas line explosion and ensuing fire destroyed M’s Pub and much of the Mercer Building, leaving a burned-out shell. After convincing the City to hold off on demolishing the building, BVH Architecture was engaged by the Mercer Management Co. to develop a stabilization plan. Lund Ross Contractors were hired to rebuild the shell, including replacing the roof, floor structures, and a portion of the brick walls. In late 2016, owner Ann Mellen decided to rebuild M’s Pub. She came to BVH asking that the space be fully reconstructed. Fortunately, the original plans were found, and after a year of construction, a new, and remarkably similar but updated, M’s Pub reopened in November 2017.
The original restaurant utilized the basement for the main restrooms and much of the food production. The new design solution included moving the restrooms and kitchens to the main floor via a new 16-foot wide addition along the north side of the building, accessible through an original brick archway. Otherwise, long-time patrons of M’s find remarkably little different between the M’s they knew before the fire and now.