Yocona River Inn restaurateur: I'll definitely rebuild

YOCONA – The owner of a popular restaurant said Friday that customers are already offering ideas and help to get the quaint eatery recovered from this week’s fire.
“We are going to come up with some fundraising ideas, but I’ll definitely rebuild,” said Paige Osborn, who has served haute cuisine in a converted country store since 1995.
Food writer John T Edge has suggested selling patronages in the restaurant, an effort that helped some New Orleans restaurants recover after Hurricane Katrina.
“The friends of the restaurateur ask favored clients of the restaurant to be guarantors of the restaurant, in a way,” Edge said. “You would give $250 to $500 to Paige now, and she would set up an account with you, and each time you ate, half that bill would be settled, and you would pay half. It’s a very satisfying and practical way to help a business rebuild.”
Some customers have offered to swing a hammer, a saw or a scrub brush.
“Obviously, there’ll have to be professionals in charge, but we’ve had lots of offers to help,” Osborn said. “I’m excited about the thought of helping rebuild my restaurant with my own hands and the help of friends.”
Osborn admitted the restaurant’s damage and the prospect of losing several months’ income while rebuilding are daunting, but a previous disaster helps her keep perspective.
“We went through a house fire in 2002, and this isn’t nearly as bad,” she said.
Thursday’s fire destroyed the kitchen and did lesser damage to the rest of the building, which had recently been renovated. Osborn will not know for some time how much of the repair work her insurance will cover.
Investigators have not determined what caused the fire. The blaze was caught early because a volunteer firefighter, on his way home from another call, saw flames coming out of the back of the restaurant.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/Daily Journal