The Fire

It was just a few days before Thanksgiving in 2015. Nothing unusual, just having a cup of coffee and enjoying a beautiful morning when we get a call from the alarm company about something wrong at the Main St location. I'm thinking... It's a Monday! We are closed! What can go wrong? Then I got the call no one ever wants, the police and fire department say they need us there. There is a fire in the dining room. 

You know what kind of day we had from that point on. It was bad enough to look at the place we love go up in smoke but add in insurance, the fire investigator, reporters, (and these are just a few of the people we had to deal with). Fortunately, we had some good friends and neighbors stop by to lend a hand and help us get temporarily patched up. 

The grueling job of cleaning and assessing the damages began. We are so grateful to our staff that helped us clean, remove and salvage the few items we could. We could not have done it without them! These guys are truly part of our family. It was a dirty job!

2016 happens to be our 60th year anniversary. We planned on a refresh for the dining rooms with new paint, lights, and new cabinets. After the fire and one delay after another with the insurance co., we decided to hire a local architect and do a redesign of the entire dining room. One never knows why “things” happen. When it’s a happy “thing”, we don’t ask; we just enjoy the moment. When it’s sad, one typically asks why?! Our family has experienced sudden loss and sadness. We have learned to buckle down and get the job done. We have learned to be grateful to God for the many blessings we have had and continue to experience in our life.

So we kept going! First, we wanted to keep our wonderful staff. Joseph's reopened for take out and catering two weeks after the fire. It was a back-door business. At least it paid for employees and some of the bills. We are so grateful to the police dept., fire dept., and the entire community who created fundraisers to support our staff for Christmas! We love our community!!!!

Month after month we fought the insurance co., code enforcement (our dining room was not stable). Dealing with staff – it’s too cold, windy and raining – when will construction begin. They were getting burned out. No money from the insurance company! Everyone wants money! We just kept making ends meet and then we finally got a loan to begin construction. 

We have never been away from our customers this long, and we truly missed them.

Construction Begins

One day I walked into work, and I saw something I’ve never seen before. The men's bathroom was demolished and on one side there was a hidden brick wall. It had posters all over it and as I looked closely, the posters were ads for a John R Ward's World Fair Shows.

I asked mom if she knew about the brick. She said she hadn't. When dad bought the property in the early 80’s and expanded the dining room, the wall was plaster. Dad placed sheetrock and never knew what treasure was hiding behind the plaster. 

Through this tragedy, we’ve uncovered a little piece of local history! God has always graced our family with his presence in good and in bad times. This little piece of history would have never been uncovered had it not been for the fire which infused our desire to offer our customers a new and fresh Joseph’s! Now we get to share a piece of our little secret wall with them.

Susie Bateh