(CBS4) – Dozens Restaurant was a gathering place as usual on Monday morning, but this time it was not for breakfast as usual. A walk-through showed parts of the ceiling collapsed, heavy fire damage in the kitchen and smoke damage in the front dining area.
"So we're going to be closed. And there's no way around that," said co-owner John England about the fire Saturday evening.
"The kitchen looks as bad as you can imagine. It's a mess but it sure looks salvageable," said England.
As they had a look and waited for more information from investigators and their insurance company, one reality had already set in.
"Everybody get on the horn to unemployment right away," England said he told the ten employees.
"It's devastating. It's so sad to see it so turned upside down," said longtime waitress Melonie Treantos.
Treantos has worked at the restaurant from a time long before John England and his wife Kim bought it sixteen years ago.
"It's like a home away from home. It's like family here," she explained.
England was going through what was left to try to help the workers.
"We emptied the cooler and that wasn't salvageable after a couple of days. But we had a freezer. Most of that stuff was half frozen. I think we've given most of that away to employees and a couple of neighborhood people. We figured we wanted to donate what was good or you know give it away," said England.
They also started an online fundraising campaign to help their workers.
The fire appears to have started in the kitchen. But there's no information yet on a cause. Coming out of the pandemic, the restaurant was in a good business cycle when the fire hit.
"We just had a great day. So it was Pride weekend. Bang-up Saturday. Everybody's getting ready, Sunday's always busier," said England.
But the restaurant is now closed for an indefinite period. It looks like the restaurant will be closed for many months.
"Even if everything goes great and it's all back to brand new, these people aren't going to be working here in the near future," said England.
Treantos hoped things would get repaired quickly and hoped to stick with it.
"Grateful to know that we can still rebuild and make it something special again," said Treantos.
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