Landmark Hagerstown Restaurant Plans To Reopen After Fire

Weekend Fire Damages Willie & Red's Restaurant

The owner of a landmark restaurant in eastern Indiana has plans to reopen after the building was badly damaged in a weekend fire.

The fire in downtown Hagerstown damaged much of the roof and upper floor of Willie & Red's restaurant, but firefighters were able to prevent further damage to the adjoining Hagerstown Museum & Arts Place and an antiques store.

The restaurant was known as Welliver's Smorgasbord for 60 years until new owners took it over in 2010.

Co-owner Penny Wickes said she'll know more about a timeline for reopening after inspectors and insurance adjustors check out the building.

"We will be back," she said.

Wickes and her husband, Mike, took over the Welliver's building and reopened it about nine months after it was closed because its previous owners ran into tax debt troubles.

Wickes said a professional cleaning crew began working at the restaurant hours after the Saturday afternoon blaze.

"It was moving to find all these guys pulling together," Butters said. "It gives me a lump in my throat to think of it,” said museum director Tom Butters.

Officials suspect an electrical fire sparked the blaze.

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