Local

Mystery remains after fire consumes J.R. Old Packinghouse Café in Sarasota

J.R. Garraus walks around the remains of his Sarasota restaurant, which burned down early Friday, June 17.
J.R. Garraus walks around the remains of his Sarasota restaurant, which burned down early Friday, June 17. Bay News 9

SARASOTA — The owner of J.R. Old Packinghouse Café, on the 900 block of Packinghouse Road in Sarasota, is still at a loss for words after his business burned down.

“You’re thinking you forgot the (fryer), you forgot the oven, whatever — you left something on that caught fire,” owner J.R. Garraus said. “You’re processing, and you’re like, ‘No, everything’s closed normally.’ ”

Although the cause of the June 17 fire is unknown, officials tell Garraus the fire started at a surrounding business. Garraus says he’s in uncharted territory.

“I’ve opened restaurants and I’ve closed restaurants, but this part — the one in the middle — I haven’t done,” he said.

Garraus did not have insurance and also lost an adjacent warehouse containing restaurant equipment, inventory and furniture.

“I’ve been here for 18 years, and the community response has been incredible, so I want to reopen. Financially, I don’t know. I don’t know what to do,” he said.

He’s asking for the community’s help to one day get this restaurant back up and cooking. To donate, visit his gofundme page.

This Gofundme.com site is not managed by Bay News 9 or the Bradenton Herald. For more information on how the site works and the rules visit http://www.gofundme.com/safety.

  Comments