By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- After trying to salvage their fire-ravaged building, the owners of Knotty Pine barbecue watched the landmark Tulsa restaurant tumble to the ground today.
The demolition comes three months after a devastating fire at the popular eatery. All that's left of the BBQ joint wood and shingles. But employees say one thing remains after the demolition: memories.
Sixty years of this family business came crashing down in a matter of minutes Thursday.
"It's just wow," said Kristen Emerson, Knotty Pine Employee. "I can't quit looking at it."
Employees of the long-time barbecue joint had mixed emotions as they watched the Knotty Pine restaurant fall to pieces.
"People come here because their grandparents brought them here, and their great grandparents and their mothers and dads," Priscilla Hutchinson, Knotty Pine Manager, said.
"I'm excited about the new building and all, but I do feel bad," Christopher Pintus, an employee, said.
"It's awful, but we're looking forward to a new building and a new beginning," LaDonna Pintus, another employee, said. "Same barbecue, new beginning."
That new beginning comes three months after a fire broke out in the pit. The cooks opened the pit to put in more meat, and the air fueled huge flames that spread before they could put them out.
5/6/2010 Related Story: Knotty Pine Owner To Rebuild Restaurant After Fire
The manager says they tried to salvage the building, but couldn't. So, they are rebuilding from the ground up. Everything will be new, even the pit.
"Actually I'm happy. We've been waiting three months and now that it's down, they can get it out of here and we can get the new building and start barbecuing again," Emerson said.
Workers say the hardest part was the thought of losing the traditions and nostalgia the restaurant held. If those walls could talk, they'd have some great stories about coworkers, customers, and years of hard work.
"I've been here 32 years and it's hard to watch it go, but I'm looking forward to new beginnings and I hope the future holds a lot for the Knotty Pine," Hutchinson said.
The owner and the manager say they will reopen; it's just a matter of when. They hope to be back in business by this fall, possibly as early as September.