ORANGE PARK, Fla – The owners and staff of Grumpy’s, a popular local restaurant, plan to meet Thursday at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office to talk about their next steps after a fire ripped through their original Middleburg location Wednesday night, causing serious damage.
The owners are anxious to rebuild and reopen the Blanding Boulevard location of the chain, which is a fast-growing local eatery.
“This is our first store, so it’s very special to us, but we’ll rebuild,” said Daniel Deleon, president and CEO of Grumpy’s. “We’re Grumpy’s strong. We’re going to have to hit the ground running and get this bad boy back open.”
According to Clay County Fire Rescue, the fire appears to have started in the kitchen.
Burn marks were visible on the walls, with water damage and pieces of the ceiling coming down.
Firefighters were first called to the restaurant shortly before 8 p.m. Clay County Fire Rescue said when they got there, they found heavy fire and smoke coming from the back of the building.
The restaurant was closed at the time and no one was hurt in the fire.
Deleon commended the firefighters on their fast work.
“They were here so quick,” he said. “The outpouring of support. We want to thank everyone for thinking about Grumpy’s and being here for us.”
Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook also posted on Facebook, asking the community to keep the franchise owners in their thoughts as they work through this.
Courtney Smith is Grumpy’s general manager. Dell Hoard is the owner of the Grumpy’s in Middleburg.
“Our franchisees here, Dell Hoard and the family, I mean, they’re obviously devastated. This is their baby, they’re here every day. You know, this is our first franchise store,” DeLeon said.
Grumpy’s has other locations in Orange Park and St. Johns County. A fourth location is being built in the Wildlight community of Nassau County.
The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the exact cause of the fire.