HAT CREEK, Calif. - The owners of the iconic Fireside Village, the only restaurant for miles in the Hat Creek area, are looking to move on to the next chapter of their lives after it was destroyed last Saturday by the Eiler Fire.
Jack Garner and his wife, Donna, have owned the restaurant and adjacent store for 35 years, but now it's all gone.
"We bought it in '79 and been going great ever since but it's over and we're going to retire," said Jack Garner, who owned the restaurant with his wife, Donna.
Having stumbled upon the business when he was 40, Jack and Donna and their family have dug deep roots into the community.
"Both of my sons, they were raised here; they've raised their children here," Garner said.
The only destination for miles, and known for the burgers and shakes turned out of the kitchen run by Donna, the loss of the business has left a hole for Hat Creek residents.
"Saturday mornings has always been biscuits and gravy and they've come around, "Well what are we going to do?," Jack said with a laugh.
With so much destruction in the area, including eight homes and 10 outbuildings, Jack says residents have been checking in on and supporting one another.
"The love and concern of our loss and their loss, it's been interesting really."
Jack said he and Donna have spent 11 hour days working at the Fireside Village for the past three-and-a-half decades, and despite all of the memories lost in the flames, their attention is on those who have lost homes.
"This was just a business with things. Well, things? No problem. But homes? That's a different story."
The Garner's had been trying to sell the business for some time but no potential buyers had ever really showed interest.
Now that's it's gone, Jack hopes someone will buy the property and build something of their own.
"It's been a terrific area," Garner said. "One era ends and another begins."
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