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Mohawk Valley

Summit's only restaurant destroyed in fire

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Albany/HV: Summit's only restaurant destroyed in fire
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A fire destroys a Summit staple, leaving this small Schoharie County town with not much else. Last year, it saw the closing of Summit Shock Prison, the town's largest employer which brought more than $9 million in payroll to the area. Then on Monday, a fire destroyed their only restaurant. Our Megan Cruz reports.

SUMMIT, N.Y. -- "When I drove in here this morning, it was kind of like, 'Oh geez, it wasn't a dream,'" said John Bulka. He's the co-owner of Red Barn Grill and Tavern, which had been the Town of Summit's only restaurant. That is, before it burned down due to a fire that broke out Monday night around 9 p.m.

"When I got here, there was flames coming out of the kitchen window in the backside," said Josh Gaida, the First Assistant Chief of the Summit Fire Department.

"I have no idea," said Bulka when asked what happened. "I have no idea. Like I said, there was nothing on."

The restaurant was closed Monday, so thankfully no one was hurt - physically, that is. Emotionally is another story, for patrons and especially for the two owners of six years.

"Many people in the county come here, many people in the town come here. They say this is their second home," said Summit resident Kathy Bulka. "It really is that family atmosphere so people are feeling that hurt."

"Pit in my stomach," said Eminence resident Dick Smith. "This is one of my favorite spots up here, the only business in town. Good food, good camaraderie. You can only hope that it can be put back together."

"We really have to look at it and see how bad it is," said John. "If it's going to be torn down and rebuilt or can we fix it up and rebuild? We don't know yet."

While they figure that out, the co-owners say their seven employees will stay employed. They'll work their concession stand at the Cobleskill Country Club as well as cater events.

Bottom line is that they do plan to reopen.

"This county and this town has gone through so much this past year," said Bulka. "We have to get something going again."

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