Just weeks away from an anticipated mid-September opening, Mockingbird, the new restaurant and music venue under construction in Staunton that was featured in this week's Hook, suffered "significant damage" in a fire Sunday afternoon, the News Leader reports. The fire, deemed accidental, started when two trash cans ignited, burning for two hours before it was noticed; but the fire was quickly extinguished when Staunton firefighters arrived on the scene. Since the 7,500 square-foot historic building on Beverly Street was in the process of being renovated, no sprinkler systems or fire alarms had been installed yet. According to the News Leader, stunned owner Wade Luhn watched the fire from across the street. "I can't talk now," he said.
"We're forging ahead," Luhn later told the Hook, still stunned but determined to finish what he started. "There'll be a slight delay on the restaurant, and a longer delay for the music hall."
Luhn says they're cleaning the restaurant space now, and will have to re-paint and work on a few other fire-related issues before continuing the final stages of the restaurant build-out. He's now shooting for a early October opening.
"We're uncertain when we will be able to restore the music hall," says Luhn, " but it will happen as soon as possible, and we will work with renewed determination to complete the project."
Luhn has recruited well-known Richmond chef Lee Gregory, known for his commitment to the farm-to-table movement, who plans on using ingredients sourced from local family farms. The planned music hall will seat 162, be acoustically separate from the dinning room, and showcase local roots music.