Popular Italian restaurant in Hernando destroyed by fire - FOX 13 News

Popular Italian restaurant in Hernando destroyed by fire

Posted: Updated:
(Photo courtesy of HCFR) (Photo courtesy of HCFR)
BROOKSVILLE (FOX 13) -

Investigators in Hernando County are trying to determine how a popular family restaurant caught fire overnight, causing significant damage.

Sometime around 3 a.m., the Papa Joe's Italian restaurant at 6244 Spring Lake Highway in Brooksville was engulfed in flames. Firefighters rushed in to save whatever they could, but there is very little left of the business.

Right now, investigators do not believe anyone was inside at the time, but they're not sure how the blaze could have started.

A picture taken from the scene shows flames shooting from the building.

The restaurant is very popular in the small town, and the fire marshal is continuing the investigation Friday.

Immediately, locals were posting comments about the restaurant on our MyFoxTampaBay Facebook page.

"So sad!" Joy wrote. "When visiting my parents in Brooksville, we always made sure we went to Papa Joe's. Now that my family has moved to Clearwater from Brooksville, and I moved down from Buffalo, NY., we still make the drive to Papa Joes every few months. We love that place. Hope they rebuild."

Rebecca wrote this: "Very sad, we used to frequent there many weekends during horseshows. Lots of memories."

FOX 13's Jen Epstein tweeted that some of the roads in the area had been shut down as firefighters were investigating.

Stay with FOX 13 for updates.

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