Memphis favorite goes up in flames, owner plans to come back stronger

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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- A Memphis favorite went up in flames Monday morning.

The owner of Elwood's Shack in Berclair is now working to get his popular restaurant back up and running.

The Memphis Fire Department said the cause appears to be a television in the dining area.

Hours after the fire was reported just before 5:30 a.m. the dining room of Elwood`s Shack smelled like charred plastic and wood rather than their famous fish tacos and barbecue.

Owner, Tim Bednarski, said he showed up to work early and was starting to prepare the restaurant for the breakfast crowd when he noticed something was wrong.

"When I came out of the office it was just engulfed in flames," he said.

He called 911, turns out some of his customers were the ones to help him at his business tucked away off Summer Avenue.

"Fortunately Station 24 is right down the street. They eat here all the time they got here really quick and got it out really quick," he said.

Fortunately the restaurant`s smoker, the lifeblood as they call it, wasn't harmed, various awards and other memorabilia on the walls made it too, most of that memorabilia donated by customers. That's what Bednarski said makes this restaurant so special, the sense of family.

"We gotta group of eight guys that come in here every morning for coffee and they were here and they actually brought us coffee for the first time," he said.

"We're up there with Jerry`s Sno Cones, little Memphis gems like that we love being considered in that same group," said manager Lee Downing.

Memphis Fire said the restaurant has about $15,000 in damages. Although their dining room might be a soggy mess right now, they're not letting the fire dampen their spirits.

"We'll be back. Ya know it will take us a little bit but we could've used a face lift anyway so we'll take this opportunity and try to make the best of it," said Downing.

Right now there is no timeline for when the restaurant will reopen.

The Memphis Fire Department said there were not working sprinklers in the small building.