Millsboro’s Blue Water Grill will be closed for the next few months, following an electrical fire on March 28.
The restaurant, located on Main Street, is owned by Jessica Wiggins and her husband, Josh, who have been serving area patrons since 2007.
“Josh just smelled something burning. It wasn’t in the kitchen, so he went searching for it. It was in a wall in the back corner of the building,” she said.
Wiggins said the Millsboro fire company was able to respond very quickly to the fire and get it under control without a great deal of damage being caused to the restaurant.
“Although there’s a lot of aftermath, the damage from the actual fire was limited. It was primarily in that back corner. There was obviously some structural damage, but more was from water, smoke and electrical lines throughout the kitchen.”
Wiggins said the fire was contained in the back portion of the restaurant near the kitchen and that the dining room was not damaged. However, the fire company did have to take down some of the ceiling in the back.
Following the fire, insurance adjusters, as well as electrical and structural engineers, surveyed the damage and said that the back kitchen area needs to be brought up to code.
“Time-wise, it is terrible — this is just when it starts to get busy again. We have all these holidays coming up. That part is unfortunate, but to be able to get a brand-new kitchen out of this is a huge blessing,” said Wiggins. “Were trying to stay really positive and just keep making phone calls… There’re a lot of different elements and parties involved. It means constantly having to find out where people are and coordinate.”
Wiggins said that, in the two weeks following the fire, those involved were able to determine the fire’s cause, have the insurance companies visit the restaurant and have a clean-up company begin pulling everything out of the back of the building.
“We’re estimating it’ll take two to four months, but until they get in there, they’re really not sure,” she said. “We are excited about having a new kitchen, but we would be even more excited if they could do it very quickly,” she added, noting that they expect to have a better timeframe established within the coming weeks.
Before rebuilding can begin, Wiggins said asbestos testing needs to be done, as well as a visit from an electrician, before the Board of Health gets involved in the rebuilding process and permits are issued.
“There’s just so many parts to this. One can’t move forward until the other one is finished… It’s really interesting.”
Wiggins said the restaurant has received a large outpouring of support following the fire.
“We had a huge outreach. We’ve had customers stop in, call. We’ve had lots of people on Facebook who have reached out with thoughts of kindness and concern. They offered to help. It’s so sweet, very, very kind,” she said, adding that Rep. John Atkins has been especially supportive.
“He was right there, offering any help that we might want — dump truck, coolers. He has still been in touch with Josh, asking if he could do anything. In such an overwhelming situation, it was nice to have that support right there. Even though our heads were spinning and we didn’t know what was going on, it was nice to have that.”
Wiggins said they are excited to reopen in the coming months.
“We miss our customers, and we hope our staff will be able to come back. But we certainly understand they have to do what’s best for them,” she said.
Moving forward, Wiggins said she is excited to have a grand-opening event.
“We’re going to improve what we can out front, making some changes to the menu again,” she said. “When it’s all said and done, it’ll be awesome, and we’ll have a huge grand opening. We never got to have a grand opening when we first took over… This is our opportunity to kind of make a big deal about it, so we’re excited about that.”
For updates on Blue Water Grill, visit their Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/BlueWaterGrillMillsboro.