Fire Destroys Popular Restaurant in Pigeon Forge

Knoxville (WVLT) - A New Year's Eve fire destroyed an east Tennessee restaurant Sunday morning.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but the All American Pancake House, more than two decades old, is a total loss.

"We just came out of the Holiday Inn Express this morning and I told my wife something's burning, then we came and seen it."

"It's awful. It's terrible."

A sad scene around 6:30 Sunday morning as a fire gutted the All American Pancake House.

"Once we got set up there was not a whole lot we could do. It's a wood building, pretty much burnt up," says Denny Clabo.

The restaurant has stood here on the corner of 441 and Wears Valley road for more than 20 years.

"We're shocked. We come down here for vacations every couple years and it's just a shock to see that."

"It's been here a long time and I'm sure the people here are going to miss it."

Many Pigeon Forge tourists say the Pancake House was always the place to stop for good food a family atmosphere.

"I think it's bad. I hope they rebuild cause it was real good."

"It was wonderful."

"I just hate that it happened," says Tommy Leo.

Tommy Leo and his daughter Kiley often visit from Georgia and eat at the Pancake House.

"My little girl just said somebody must've dropped a lighter, so I guess somebody dropped a lighter," says Leo.

Firefighters say the blaze started in the kitchen, but they aren't sure how.

"It's got to hurt cause it brings in a lot of money I'm sure."

Now around forty Pancake House employees are ringing in the new year without a job.

"I'm sure somebody will be without a job a little while, but as much as this place has grown, I'm sure there will be another job pretty quick," says Leo.

The Pigeon Forge fire department says they'll begin investigations Tuesday.