CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — An early morning fire destroyed the Southern Craft BBQ location on Watauga Lake, the former home of the Captain’s Table restaurant.
According to Carter County Sheriff Mike Fraley, the call came in around 5:19 a.m. on Thursday morning. Crews spent hours at the scene battling the fire and putting out hot spots, but Hampton Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Isaacs said that by the time they arrived, it was too late to save the majority of the building.
“First units found heavy fire on the left-hand side of the building on an exterior porch, and it advanced into the attic space and throughout the biggest part of the building, by the time we arrived,” Isaacs said.
According to Isaacs, crews spent roughly two hours putting out the fire. No casualties were reported, and no one appears to have been in the building at the time of the fire, he said.
“It is hard to say how long it was going on at that time,” Isaacs said. “The morning is low traffic so it had a head start before anybody notified us.”
Stir Fry Group, the company that owns the restaurant, said the loss extends past just the building.
“The meat is the primary food cost and then into beer, wine and liquor that’s held on-site, plus the loss of sales revenue,” said Nathan Buckmaster, regional manager for the Stir Fry Group.
Buckmaster said in addition to the loss of the building and inventory, there is the staff to consider.
“We have a staff of maybe 40 people, including several managers, that have families that need to be supported as well,” Buckmaster said. “So this is a monstrous loss.”
According to Isaacs, 19 departments and 64 firefighters assisted in the fire. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is also assisting in the investigation into the fire.
News Channel 11 previously reported a fire at the restaurant in 2022.