Future of Milltown landmark restaurant uncertain - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Future of Milltown landmark restaurant uncertain

David Dugan David Dugan
Nate Woods Nate Woods
Mark Woods Mark Woods

MILLTOWN, IN (WAVE) - The future is right now for a landmark restaurant destroyed by fire over the weekend.

The Blue River Café in Milltown went up in flames early Sunday morning from a fire that started in the kitchen.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Fire-damaged Indiana restaurant to be demolished]

It took crews about three hours to extinguish the fire. There were no injuries reported.

Monday morning, old customers from all over Crawford County drove or walked by the restaurant to see the damage and offer help. Residents said the restaurant was a staple in their community and it was the only place a person could get a good meal out in Crawford County.

"It had great food. I'm a picky person when it comes to food and like I said their steaks are awesome. Everything's cooked to order and that's what I like," customer David Dugan said.

Nate Woods' parents own the Blue River Café. He said the restaurant was always crowded.

"Everyone comes here. If anyone needs a place to just hang or drink or eat, even hang out with friends, they come here," Woods said. "Even pizza, we have a pizza place, outdoor garden, everything."

Between live music, an open patio, dependable good food and nice people customers said for 25 years the restaurant has been a favorite for people all over including Evansville and Indiana.

"They drove out from Louisville every weekend. We figured out at one point 25 percent of business was driving from Louisville."

Now the intense smell of burned wood and tin penetrates your lungs and residents in Crawford County, especially Milltown, said they worry if the restaurant doesn't come back it could hurt their town.

"It can hurt from the business alone. It did draw in a lot of people but maybe they'll rebuild again. I hope they do," Dugan said.

"This town has been shrinking. I can't see this helping it grow if it doesn't come back, and don't ask me today if it's coming back," Owner Mark Woods said. "I don't know, ask me next week."

Woods said he and his wife just rebuilt the restaurant four years ago when a fire that started in a storage room brought the restaurant down. He said the thought of stating all over again sounds exhausting, but then again, he doesn't know what else he would do.

The small pizza and pasta building off the side of the café was not damaged by the fire. Woods said that will stay open Thursday through Sunday like it always has.

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