SUPERIOR, Colo. (KDVR) — A popular barbecue restaurant is reopening for the first time Friday after it was destroyed in the Marshall Fire. 

“Today I feel like is the final test, like we did it, we made it, we’re open and we’re just so happy to be here,” Samantha Shelnutt said. 

Her husband, Wayne Shelnutt, is the mastermind behind the recipes at Wayne’s Smoke Shack. He prepared about 700 pounds of meat ahead of opening day. 

“Going into it you never know really what to expect. Are people going to show up? Are they going to remember about Wayne’s Smoke Shack? And like seeing all the people out here today it almost like brings me to tears. It’s just so humbling that this many people support us,” Samantha Shelnutt said. 

The restaurant opened at 11 a.m. Customers were already in line by 6 a.m. to secure a spot. 

“The last couple years they did a lot for feeding health care workers and stuff through here so I wanted to try to get out here first and just support and reciprocate,” Aaron Davis said. 

Davis was the first person in line. He says he does not know Samantha and Wayne personally but wanted to show them how much the community appreciates their food and their presence. 

Wayne’s Smoke Shack has been closed since Dec. 30, 2021, when the Marshall Fire destroyed parts of their building, their HVAC system and all of their equipment. 

“Wayne has been battling insurance. Had to gut the restaurant. Restock everything from our smokers our butcher blocks, every kitchen equipment that we have has all been replaced,” Samantha said. 

In addition to losing their business, the Shelnutts lost their home in the Sagamore subdivision. At the time, Samantha was also seven months pregnant. 

The couple spoke to FOX31 a few days after the fire.

In the last year, the Shelnutts found a new place to live and welcomed a baby girl in March. They say while there is still a long road of recovery ahead, reopening the restaurant feels like a significant step forward. 

“I just feel like we’ve been tested in life, faced so many challenges this past year and today it just feels like, you know what? We can do it,” Samantha said.