A demolition project at the site of a Jacksonville restaurant had to be put on hold yesterday due to some unexpected occupants.
Demolition of the former Muggsy’s Hideout began yesterday morning. The house which had been converted to a meeting and dining space at the restaurant was gutted when a fire broke out in mid-April.
The owner of the establishment Mark Schierl says demolition of the old house started off pretty well until workers discovered some previous occupants of the structure had retaken up residence.
“About two months ago we had a bee problem over there so we brought in a bee specialist and they didn’t get the queen I guess. So when they opened up the walls yesterday, they got into a big mess of it. But I think this other beekeeper got the queen out yesterday or last night, so we are back in business right now. But there were thousands of them swarming yesterday and everybody was getting stung so we put a halt to everything.”
Several bees were still flying around the site as the last of the ruble was loaded into trucks by workers with Shireman Farms Excavating this morning.
Schierl, who along with his wife owns four establishments downtown that include Mulligan’s, Shiraz, and Brickhouse Barbecue, says he was in the process of reopening Muggsy’s following the last COVID mitigation shut down when the fire occurred.
Schierl says everything happened within seventeen minutes when the fire happened. He and his crew were working on some updates to the Hideout and patio dining area and had just stained a large deck between the Hideout and the kitchen when it happened.
He says officials think an ember either from a spark from power tools or from the grill they cooked lunch on, likely got under the deck and ignited the oil-based stain.
He says though, the kitchen house which was also damaged by the fire, is ready to be inspected by the city and he does plan to reopen, hopefully, sooner than later.
“What we’re looking at is not rebuilding the Hideout until the lumber prices get down a little further. Muggsy’s we are hoping to get open on the first of September if we can get the help. Right now we are hurting for help all over the place. When we’re running good we have over eighty employees and right now we are running with sixteen in three restaurants. So we are just waiting to see if we get can get some good help.”
Schierl says the other three restaurants have been open for a good while following the shutdowns, but it’s still a struggle in the restaurant business right now.
“They are going good, like I said the help is the big thing. And the prices of food, especially meat prices are so high that we are thinking about raising our prices and we hate to do that, but we don’t have any alternative right now. It’s just a bad situation for everybody, it’s not just us it’s people buying groceries too.”
Schierl says the fire has been hard to take and they did lose several pictures and collectibles that were in the Hideout, however, no one was injured in the blaze, and none of the items were personal family items, so it was not like someone who loses their home to a fire. He says he is thankful as it could have been a lot worse.