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LINCOLN, Ala. (WIAT) — A beloved Lincoln bar and grill is closed indefinitely after a fire broke out Sunday night.
The loss of The Stillery along I-20 is devastating for both the owners as well as their customers who described it as a second home. It may have only been open for two years, but the restaurant already left its mark on Lincoln.
“It’s that ‘Cheers’ environment where everybody knew everybody, everybody knew everybody’s name,” said Brandy Spurling who owns The Stillery with her husband Grady.
Now, all that’s left is mounds of charred debris, glass shards strewn all over the floor, and a skeleton frame with a collapsed roof still smoking 24 hours later.
The Lincoln Fire Department first received a report of heavy smoke at 6:24 p.m. Sunday. Eyewitnesses told CBS42 they spotted huge plumes of smoke shooting to the sky visible for miles away.
In three minutes, Lincon FD said firefighters arrived at the scene, but it was too late. By the time the Spurlings arrived, their livelihood was reduced to ash.
“We put everything we had into the place. We put our heart and soul in it, and we lost everything,” Brandy Spurling said.
The couple added that The Stillery was a labour of love for them, and around the community, it became known for its good food and music and even better company.
Kimberly Seaman works as a cashier at Gupta Travel Plaza next to The Stillery.
“The smoke was unbearable. We couldn’t even see out the doors here, it was so thick,” Seaman said.
She emphasized she’s grateful that no one was hurt, but her heart was shattered for their loss.
“They’re like family, I see them every day, come in and out … I hate this for them, I hope they can rebuild, I really do, and I know Lincoln will have their back,” Seaman said through tears.
Many of the restaurant’s regulars came out to the destruction to pay their respects on Monday, including musicians Michael David Vaughan and Bill Knight who were set to perform there on Thursday.
“It’s terrible. We love playing here, it’s one of our favorite places,” Vaughan said.
“Really good crowd, very friendly, and the owners were really good to us. We’re gonna miss playing here for sure,” Knight said.
For now, the Spurlings are still figuring out their next step. In the meantime, they want to thank everyone who’s shown up for them, and they hope to return the favor by reopening one day.
“We love everybody, and we appreciate them and hope to see them back soon,” Brandy Spurling said.
If you want to help, there will be a benefit ride to raise money for The Stillery this Saturday, February 4, in Oxford, AL, starting at Choccolocco Park at 11:00 a.m. The cost is $25 per bike or car, and there will also be raffles, music and food for the whole family.