Restaurant Business Owners Lost in Fire Weigh-in Options | News, Sports, Jobs

The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team is investigating the cause of the fire. Photo by Fluvanna Fire Department

ELLERY — The owners of a local catering business that was devastated by a fire over the weekend said they plan to move forward as a busy wedding season approaches.

“We got up and went to the scene and saw that he was completely involved (by fire). There was practically nothing to salvage,” Paige Oyer told the Post-Journal about the fire that destroyed Homestead Cafe & Catering early on Sunday. Oyer and her husband purchased the 3062 Route 430 property in 2019.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze around 2:15 a.m. Photographs posted by the Oyers and several fire departments showed the property completely engulfed in flames; the property was largely reduced to ashes.

No injuries were reported.

Oyer, who has worked in hospitality most of her life, said she and her husband were told about the fire by phone and rushed to the scene. “We were home in our bed sleeping” she says. “I guess we were just shocked when we got there.”

Firefighters are pictured at the Homestead Cafe & Catering in the town of Ellery on Sunday. The property, which houses a catering business, was destroyed when a fire broke out around 2:15 a.m. Photo by Homestead Cafe & Catering

In a Facebook post, the Fluvanna Fire Department said officials arrived to find flames in the front, right and rear of the building. Firefighters from Gerry, Bemus Point, Ellery Center, Sinclairville, Ashville, Maple Springs, Kennedy, Chautauqua and Dewittville assisted, along with Chautauqua County EMS, City of Ellery, County Fire Police and Emergency Services County.

Following their purchase, Oyer said it undertook a “total renovation” of the building, including in the kitchen and the dining room. “We redid everything” she says. “To accumulate all this, the equipment and the assets, and to lose them is difficult.”

Oyer said she and her husband plan to weigh their options for “find a way to continue the restoration for the year.” She noted a “full schedule” with restaurant jobs booked through November and through 2023. All cooking was done at the Route 430 site, so a temporary location is being sought to honor existing restaurant jobs.

Prior to COVID-19, the Oyers also ran a cafe with food served to the public, but post-pandemic they were limited to full-time catering.

In a post on Facebook and reiterated on Monday, Oyer thanked all the first responders who helped as well as those in the community. “A lot of people have offered their support, both business and personal,” she says. “We have a girl going to Bemus Point and people have offered to help with anything.”

She added, “We appreciate everyone’s support.”

Members of the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team were investigating the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

“Due to the extensive damage, we are relying on early photos (and) interviews with first responders,” said Chautauqua County Deputy Sheriff Rich Telford.

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