Popular Delaware County Watering Hole Destroyed By Fire

Monday, January 14th 2013, 7:29 pm
By: News On 6

A popular Delaware County watering hole and live music venue has been destroyed by fire.

Mountain Mama's, in Tiajuana, just east of Disney along Highway 28, burned to the ground early Saturday morning.

"I was afraid everything was going to catch on fire," said Gene Johnson

Johnson lives next door to what used to be Mountain Mama's. It's now just a pile of smoking ash.

"It was a pretty good-size fire. It was pretty hot. I grabbed the water hose and tried to keep the new barn from catching on fire, keep it from burning up," Johnson said.

"Originally the flames were about 25 to 30 feet in the air," said Chief Jim Smart, of the Tiajuana Volunteer Fire Department.

Smart said it happened around 4 a.m. Saturday.

When crews got to the scene the fire was growing and they were worried about it spreading to nearby homes.

"We needed every department we had here in order just to contain it and protect the structure we had," Smart said.

Mountain Mama's is well known around Grand Lake. It's hard to miss the iconic boat poking through the fence near the amphitheater.

No one's sure when the original home was built there, but in the mid-‘90s, it became Mountain Mama's Italian Restaurant.

Now burned springs are all that's left of the barstools. Each one had a patron's name embroidered on it, so they were guaranteed a place to sit and shoot the breeze.

"This whole parking lot would be full on the weekends, and it was a good place to eat and good place to hang out," Smart said.

Less than a decade ago, it was sold and became a popular place to have banquets or private parties.

The man who owned it worked in the music business and would often invite his friends to perform.

All of the memorabilia, plus a piano, guitars, and a century-old drum, were destroyed by the fire.

Make no mistake, the folks there are thankful no one was hurt and the fire department was able to keep the flames from spreading, but they're just sad that such a piece of this small town's history is gone.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Smart said it appears to be electrical.