TWO HARBORS (AP) -- A landmark restaurant in this northeastern Minnesota city was destroyed by fire.
Miller's Cafe, popular since the 1800s, burned early Thursday.
Owner Paul Simat, who lived alone in an upstairs apartment, called firefighters about 1 a.m. He had gone down to lock up when he smelled smoke, said Richard Mickelson, Two Harbors assistant fire chief.
Simat traced the smoke to the basement, which houses a water heater and a furnace and is used for dry storage. He escaped safely. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
With a wall of water, firefighters saved a neighboring building that houses the Chamber of Commerce offices and a hair salon.
Miller's was known for its broasted chicken, its family dining and its lutefisk dinners during the holidays.
"This place was a landmark," said Mike Valentine, hair salon owner and a former chamber official. "Miller's was well-known. This place drew people from far and wide. And it was a gathering place in the morning for a lot of locals. Any time you lose a landmark business like that, it hurts."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.