'Home away from home:' Beloved restaurant burns down in Pike County

Published: Jun. 25, 2019 at 5:29 PM EDT
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A centerpiece business near the small community of Shelby Gap in Pike County went up in flames late Monday night.

JR's pizza has been in business for nearly seventeen years. The building itself has been there for decades more.

"The whole community just enjoyed JR's", said Missy Lucas, who frequented JR's.

Missy Lucas has spent her life across from the shop where JR's pizza once stood. She and her son watched Tuesday morning as a fire tore through the building.

"He was in a panic," said Lucas. "He said, 'Mom, JR's is on fire', and immediately me and him our hearts broke."

The small restaurant was a community staple.

"There's history here at it just breaks my heart," said Gladys Bentley the former owner.

Gladys Bentley owned the store up until 2003. She, like many, says the place was like a home to her.

"I don't know, people really be missing this cause it's part of the neighborhood," said Bentley. "It's been for years."

Bentley lost sleep knowing the beloved restaurant was gone.

"I hadn't been to bed since I saw it last night. It just tears me up," said Bentley. "There's just so many memories here."

Belinda Tackett is the restaurant's current owner. This place was more than a business to her.

"Home away from home," said Tackett.

She spent nearly 17 years working seven days a week and spent countless hours behind the counter.

"It's my livelihood you know. I don't know where I'm going from here but, I'll make it," said Tackett.

The cause of the fire is still not known.

Crews have had to come back throughout the day due to the building catching back on fire.

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