A historic Old Orchard Beach restaurant will remain closed until further notice after an early morning fire caused extensive water and smoke damage to the building.
The Old Orchard Beach Fire Department responded to a report of a building fire at Joseph’s by the Sea, 55 West Grand Ave., around 5:50 a.m. Monday. Crews brought the fire under control at 9:30 am There was no one in the restaurant when the fire broke out and no injuries were reported.
“We are very grateful that the building was vacant at the time and that no one was injured,” the owners of Joseph’s by the Sea said in a Facebook post. “We also thank the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department for their quick response and quick action to contain the blaze. Due to extensive water and smoke damage, we will unfortunately be closed until further notice.
The owners of the restaurant have vowed to reopen and said they will release updates in the coming weeks as they embark on efforts to rebuild their business.
“Everyone will be missed and we can’t wait to open our doors again,” said the owners.
Firefighters said the fire started in a small room near the kitchen. A maintenance worker at a nearby hotel spotted the fire and called 911. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Joseph’s by the Sea was opened in 1968 by Joseph and Mariette Dussault. The management of the restaurant was passed on to their children until it was sold in December 2020 to Scott and Barbara McCrum.
Scott McCrum told News Center Maine he has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the restaurant since buying Joseph’s and is having a great 2021 season.
Fans of the restaurant, locals and patrons alike have lamented the loss of this popular dining venue. Their feelings were captured in Facebook posts that were close to exceeding 200 comments on Monday night.
“Every year we go to OOB. It is our tradition to go to Joseph’s house for dinner by the sea the first night we are there, ”one woman wrote. “The food is amazing and the service impeccable. The ocean view is spectacular. Our hearts go out to the owners and staff of the restaurant.
“I’m so sorry, many breakfasts and dinners have been had in your wonderful restaurant, as a little girl with my grandparents and the past few years with my better half… hoping you will reopen soon,” wrote another longtime customer.
“I just want to cry. I’m so glad that everyone is safe and that you will reopen when you can,” said one woman.
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