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i just returned home from a trip into town.  I had heard that a friend’s restaurant had caught on fire overnight and, after calling her, learned that it was a complete loss.  This Italian-American restaurant has been an institution in our town since 1951, when Corky’s father-in-law opened it with 8 booths and an eat-at counter.  It has grown to a two-story establishment with more than 50 tables (not including the original booths which stood proudly in the front room of the restaurant), 2 bars, 2 kitchens and a huge clientele of “regulars“.

Market Street is a 5-block stretch of historic know the kind...multi-story businesses that are connected by common walls.  I called Corky this afternoon to offer my support and then went to the restaurant.  Unbelievably the firemen were STILL spraying water into the restaurant and the buildings on both sides...12 hours after the fire broke out.  When the fire was finally extinguished, the demolition began.  Corky and her husband, Joe, as well as their 3 children were front and center while this was going on...with hundreds and hundreds of community members there to offer their condolences and support.

I stood with Corky and Joe while some of the demo was taking place.  I told Joe that perhaps it was time for a new era...and that sometimes we think something is being done TO us, when perhaps something is being done FOR us.  He smiled and told me that was a great philosophy...then asked me to repeat it so he could remember it.  Joe works so very hard, 7 days/week.  Days, nights, holidays...all the time.  He does the business, the PR, the training of staff, takes reservations, tends bar...all of it.  He and Corky are nearly 60 and Corky’s health is poor.  She has suffered all the horror of lupus for over 20 years and recently had back surgery and is wheelchair bound for at least 9 months of recovery.  Joe is responsible for nearly 100% of her care as well as the house.  Maybe something other than the constant demands of the restaurant will be a good thing for both Corky and Joe.

From the street...the front of the restaurant:

And out back:


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