Fayetteville, N.Y. – A fire destroyed the kitchen, office and a private dining room today at the Arad Evans Inn, a restaurant that opened 25 years ago in a 19th century farmhouse.
“I think we’ll have to gut everything and rebuild,” said owner Jason Thomas of the damaged areas.
That means the restaurant could be closed for four to six months, Thomas said today, just hours after the fire.
“We’ll definitely be reopening,” he said. “You have to take it in stride.”
The fire at 7206 E. Genesee St. was reported just before noon, as a small group of staff were starting to work on dinner services.
No one was hurt, Thomas said. The main dining room was not damaged, he added.
The fire started as part of a roofing repair, Thomas said. The roofer was using a hot torch to lay down the new roof, he said. That caught a small part of the building on fire.
At first, it was small – so small the roofer tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, Thomas said. One of Thomas’s kitchen staff members called 911, he said.
The fire moved into a crawl space between walls, Thomas said. “But it just got in a spot where it spread and the fire department couldn’t get to it fast,” he said.
It spread, and a sprinkler system in the attic helped firefighters put it out, he said.
The restaurant opened in 1995, and for the first few years it also offered overnight lodging.
In December, syracuse.com | The Post-Standard restaurant reviewer Jared Paventi raved about the restaurant’s fresh take on bistro food even as it approached its 25th anniversary.
“Arad Evans Inn has all the hallmarks of an old-school fine dining restaurant, but with quite a few modern touches. Sure, you can order escargot ($13.99) or beef Bourguignon ($18.99), but you can also find a burger made with meat from Manlius’ Side Hill Farms,” Paventi wrote.
The fire comes just a few weeks after the restaurant reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thomas said after shutting the restaurant in March, he spent about two months making improvements, including adding new equipment to the kitchen.
Arad Evans reopened in mid-June for takeout and starting in-person dining later this summer.
Now the restaurant will have to close again for months.
“You have to deal with the situation and make the best of it,” he said.
“We’ll be the bigger, stronger man,” he added, “like the 6 Million Dollar Man.”
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