MARIANNA -- Jackson County residents are learning about a popular restaurant burning down in an overnight fire. Investigators aren't sure how the building went up in flames. Locals are taking time to remember a well-known business.
Don Morris and his wife are looking at what used to be the El Rio Mexican restaurant.
"They had a great business going here you can come by here anytime and they'd be just about packed. We drive by Friday night and it was just…no place to park out there in the parking lot so…A lot of people felt the same way it's the best place in town I thought,” said Marianna Resident Don Morris.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, Jackson County firefighters received a call that the restaurant was on fire.
The flames were so big Jackson County firefighters also called in the Marianna fire rescue and four other volunteer fire rescues from Cottondale, Alford, Grand Ridge, and Compass Lake. Firefighters say the fire took several hours to put out.
Jackson Co Fire Rescue Captain Josh Williams said, "It is a total loss went down there this morning to assist the actual property owner with putting up some plywood just to keep people out."
El Rio restaurant managers lease the two story building from the owners of Bear Paw Adventures. Those owners use the restaurant's basement to store equipment like canoes and tubes.
"The bottom side is not as bad a loss as the top side. The restaurant part of the business is totally gone,” said Williams.
Locals like Morris are hoping the restaurant will open back up soon.
"Best tacos my favorite, you know like I said that was my first thought it was 'oh no' for them. And what they're faced with you know hopefully they rebuild though, hopefully,” said Morris.
No word yet on if El Rio's owners will rebuild the restaurant. Owners did not wish to comment at this time.