We caught up with restoblogger Bruce Buschel (who pens the "Startup Chronicles" column in the New York Times) about Saturday's fire that shut down his Bridgehampton restaurant, the Southfork Kitchen.
Those who follow his column know he's gone through quite a bit to get the place up and running, so this weekend's kitchen fire just seems cruel.
Buschel confirms that our earlier report is fairly accurate: A shelf above the stove had two dozen screws, but just two of them apparently got so hot that they conducted heat deep into the wall, which ignited the fire. The fire marshal said that everything was proper and done to code, so it's currently unclear why on this night (after being open for seven months) did this curious event take place.
The fire marshal also said that there was physically minimal damage and it was OK to keep the bar and dining room open, but Buschel says, "we're kinda about food," so he doesn't plan to reopen until the kitchen is back up and running.
His goal is to be operational by the big July 4th weekend, although the restaurant's fate now largely rests in the hands of the Town of Southampton who have to issue new permits. Buschel has "been through this playground before," so he's planning on showing up at Town Hall first thing tomorrow morning and doesn't plan to leave until he gets some solid answers.
When asked whether or not enough time has passed yet for this to be funny, Buschel says, "I appreciate the dark humor of the universe and I'm kinda in on the joke" but "I'm not laughing real hard yet." Buschel's softball teammates on the Bridgehampton Bombers, however, don't think it's too soon to start the teasing. At Sunday's game, Buschel was taunted after good plays with calls of "Bruce is smoking!" and "Bruce is on fire!"