Rebounding from a fire, downtown landmark Main Street Cafe to reopen on Aug. 16

MADISON – Rebounding from a fire to the building’s west side, Main Street Cafe will reopen on Aug. 16, which is good news for the restaurant’s loyal following of guests.

The well-prepared savory and sweet foods on the menu have not changed, Tammy Hall said. Tammy and John Hall own Main Street Cafe.

“The fire destroyed our outside storage area and our dry storage area (StoStorage) located at the back of the kitchen. Because smoke entered the kitchen, we had to go through a full recovery process removing all plastics and contaminated materials,” Tammy said.

In addition, the building at 101 Main St. lost electricity, which led to losing all food product in the Halls’ cooler and freezer. Fortunately, the fire caused minimal damage to the kitchen and almost no damage to the dining room.

“For the time being, we will use the jail cells as storage. (Madison City Hall, complete with two jail cells for offenders, formerly occupied this building.) That will unfortunately limit our seating capacity,” Tammy said. “We should be getting a temperature-controlled storage unit soon. We will store all that product there once it becomes available.”

The cause of the fire “was cigarette ashes that were discarded onto cardboard that was broken down outside,” Tammy said.

Cafe employees and first responders reacted quickly to deal with the fire. “Carlton, Kerry and Tim all made an attempt to control the fire until the fire department could come. (The fire’s strength) was more than any amount of extinguishers could handle,” Tammy said.

“My servers Janice, September, Megan and Kirstin made sure to evacuate everyone from the dining area to across the street. Special thanks to North Alabama Gas Company for quickly turning off the gas that day and to the Madison Fire Department for arriving so quickly and getting the fire under control,” Tammy said.

Servpro discarded all the contaminated materials. Graham Construction upgraded the electrical system, replaced ceiling tiles, painted the walk-in cooler and freezer, upgraded the hot water heater and gas lines and demolished the storage area that was burned. Mark Harbin with Continental Roofing will finish work on the roof.

After the danger was over, employees had to face the loss of their jobs (during months of repairs). “Thankfully, we were able to compensate them while we have gone through this process,” Tammy said. “Some did some temporary work. They are all good workers. We are blessed to have them. They have all been a great help getting the restaurant ready to reopen.”

The menu at Main Street Cafe remains the same. All the entrees, salads, desserts and other orders will be available to guests.

Tammy and John Hall had “no doubts at all” to reopen the cafe. “This was the first time we’ve been through something like this. My husband John handled the insurance, Servpro and construction. I handled product replacement and scheduling, once we could return to the restaurant,” Tammy said.

During ‘time off’ from Main Street Cafe, the Halls were thankful to have their other business, Lanier House Tea Room, at 20 Martin St. in downtown Madison. “I have spent time trying to make sure it can run smoothly. I have a fantastic staff there. They will take care of it while I have to shift back to Main Street,” Tammy said.

For more information, call 256-461-8096, email cafemainstreet101@gmail.com or visit mainstreetcafemadison.com or Facebook/Main Street Cafe.

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