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Landmark St. Clair Shores Restaurant Gutted By Fire

ST. CLAIR SHORES (WWJ) - The Macomb County restaurant where rapper Eminem worked before his music career skyrocketed was extensively damaged by a fire overnight.

The blaze took off around 4 a.m. Thursday at Gilbert's Lodge on Harper Avenue, just south of 9 Mile Road, a few hours after the St. Clair Shores restaurant closed for business.

Fire Chief George Morehouse said the extent of the flames and heat from the fire made it necessary to call in support from neighboring departments in Eastpointe, Roseville and Warren.

"Basically, our guys were whipped, you know, after 20 minutes of fighting the heat and the fire as they originally came upon, they needed to come out of that building and rehab because of the work that was involved," he said.

Reporting live from the scene, WWJ's Ron Dewey said the building itself is still standing, with extensive damage limited to the restaurant's interior.

Morehouse said the intensity of the heat cracked the concrete walls of the building and weakened the steel trusses, putting the integrity of the structure in question. It's unclear whether or not the restaurant will be able to reopen.

Morehouse said fire appears to have originated from the kitchen, although the cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

Gilbert's Lodge, aside from being a local landmark restaurant, is also widely known as the place where rapper Eminem worked in the 90's while he was recording The Slim Shady LP.

Eminem was notoriously fired from the restaurant in 1996 just days before Christmas and his daughter's first birthday. He would later tell Rolling Stone: "That was the worst time ever, dog. It was like five days before Christmas, which is Hailie's birthday. I had, like, $40 to get her something. I wrote [the song] 'Rock Bottom' after that."

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