PEMBROKE, GA (WTOC) - A Pembroke restaurant will be closed for a while after a fire damaged it and a surrounding business.
Pembroke Fire says the fire broke at Johnny’s Grill on West Bacon Street just after 11 p.m. Wednesday night. When firefighters arrived, they found flames and smoke coming from the roof of the structure.
Additional firefighters were called in, and they were able to get the fire out in about 30 minutes.
The interior of the restaurant was heavily damaged. A hardware store next door also has minor damage.
“It’s where are dads eat and our granddads ate, and our great granddads ate."
Johnny’s Grill is that kind of place. The one where the same group of friends meets for coffee at the same table every morning.
“I know if I need to find somebody at lunch time, this is just about where they’ll be just about everyday," said City Manager, Alex Floyd.
“It was a rather large fire for a small town like us," said Chief Peter Waters, Pembroke Fire Department.
“You have these old buildings with zero lock lines and they literally share walls and this has always been a nightmare of ours...one building and it just jumps from building to building.”
The hardware store had little damage, but officials have no idea when Johnny’s Grille will be back up and running.
“It’s a pretty big loss. A lot of people depend this place for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
City officials say this leaves just one restaurant in Pembroke that is not fast food.
“I’d come up here and get a club sandwich with french fries. I mean I know that sounds simple, but they just do it right."
Regulars grabbed lunch elsewhere Thursday, but they’re thinking when they’ll be back at their spot, ordering their favorites.
WTOC reached out to the owners, but they did not want to go on camera.
Pembroke Fire suspects the fire started in a back room and spread to the kitchen. Surveillance video was handed over to the investigators, who hope that will lead to more answers.