MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - A popular Muskogee restaurant is closed indefinitely after a fire ripped through the front of the business Monday morning.

China King in Muskogee is not only known for serving some of the best Chinese food in town; it's also home to many memories... some more important than others.

"Had I not been coming here to meet my cousin to eat, I wouldn't have met my wife!" Perry Bruner said. "I just can't believe it's gone now."

The same family has managed the business for 16 years. For most of that time, Margaret Ford said she and her husband have been regulars.

"Once I hit the door, I have my uniform on, they know I exactly who I am, they know how much I get," she said.

Ford said she considers the family her friends, and she's not the only one.

"Everybody that eats here, they're gonna miss it," she said.

The Fire Marshal said crews were on scene for six hours Monday, and their work isn't finished yet. He estimates the damage could be nearly half a million dollars.

"Any fire that causes damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars is a major fire for any fire department," Marshal Derrell Jones said.

Jones said right now, they expect the culprit to be electrical issues with the building's neon lighting. But the China King managers say they're resilient, saving awards that made it through the fire to eventually hang in their new building. Until then, fans of the restaurant are at a loss.

"I saw that it burnt down and I thought, 'Wow, what are we gonna do now?'" Mason Page said.

But they say they'll be here when China King's doors open again.

"Whenever they get back up, if we're still alive, we'll be here with them," Ford said.

The managers said they're not sure when they'll reopen, and they're not sure if they'll rebuild in the same spot, or relocate somewhere else in town.   

But they say they will be back serving the community they love.