Kitchen fire forces restaurant to temporarily close in downtown Romeo

ROMEO, Mich. – A dinner in the heart of Downtown Romeo was forced to close for several weeks after a fire in the kitchen.

The fire occurred at the Four Corners Diner on St. Clair Street Eastalso known as 32 Mile Road.

The owners said last Thursday that the fire started in the kitchen and they were now forced to close for about two months. Now the community is rallying around the small business to help it reopen quickly.

“Struggling to get through the pandemic,” said Marty Hutnick, co-owner of Four Corners Diner. “We get there, and then something like this happens.”

Guests refer to the restaurant as a Romeo staple.

“I come Wednesday for the mushroom soup, Friday for the clam chowder and Thursday for the potato soup,” said one customer.

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“It’s the meeting place,” said Kathy Osebold, owner of MJC Marketplace. “It’s the place you come to when you’re happy. It’s the place you come to when you’re sad.

Now when people show up they find a boarded up door, big signs and Hutnick there to explain what happened. She says after closing last Thursday night she received a call from the business next door saying they had seen smoke.

“It was black smoke coming from the roof and its exhaust,” Hutnick said.

Firefighters arrived at the restaurant and were able to put out the fire fairly quickly, but the damage was already done.

“Every stove needs to be replaced, and we have three stoves,” Hutnick said.

The restaurant owners have even more assessments to make. Dinner was guaranteed.

“I found out yesterday that it’s not 100% coverage; employees will be paid and we have lost wages, you know the downtime, but when it comes to equipment, it’s not 100% covered,” Hutnick said.

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While owners clean up, customers and other business owners like Osebold are finding ways to help.

“I really thought what can I do immediately to help get some money and it was like, well, I can sell his gift certificates, and that way there’s income coming his way “, said Osebold. “So I started this right away, and people were just like, ‘oh here,’ (they were) just giving me money. They didn’t even want the gift certificate.

Some people just wanted to show their support, like this handwritten letter from a young customer wanting to reopen the restaurant.

A restaurant in the heart of downtown Romeo was forced to close for several weeks after a kitchen fire. The fire occurred at 4 Corners Diner on East Saint Clair Street, also known as 32-Mile Road. (WDIV)

“Our sweet Macy,” Hutnick said. “She comes over every weekend with her dad, and we love her to death, and this letter touched all of our hearts. It was the sweetest letter.

This letter and the overwhelming support the restaurant has received over the past week is testament to what Hutnick has said about the Romeo community.

“It’s just amazing,” Hutnick said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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The fire comes just weeks before the Peach Festival, the busiest weekend of the year. The community plans to raffle major items to raise funds for Four Corners Diner during the festival in the MJC Marketplace backlot.

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