Luci Davis | Sept. 22, 12:31 p.m.
On Sept. 7, 2022, at approximately 3 p.m., flames erupted from the kitchen hood vent on the roof of Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille.
According to a report from Lakeland Fire Department (LFD) via Instagram, “fire crews arrived on scene to a light smoke-filled restaurant and partial evacuation in progress.” Firefighters were able to extinguish the kitchen fire and then the flames from the roof, before ventilating the building.
“Responding to the scene included 8 LFD units, Polk County Fire Rescue units, and several LPD units. One firefighter was transported and treated for exhaustion, but has since been released,” according to the LFD.
Following the fire, the restaurant was closed for eight days, but after passing inspections they opened their doors on Sept. 15. Harry’s shared in a facebook post that day, “We are excited to open today for normal business hours! Come join us for lunch at 11 a.m.”
The public was eager for the restaurant’s doors to reopen after the fire and so were several FSC students. Junior, Ava Boornazian, a Harry’s regular, was initially devastated. “My initial reaction was denial, I thought my friends were just being funny when they told me the news. I was so shocked, at first I pictured a whole building black in ashes, but then I learned that it started from a fire in the kitchen. I still really felt for the owner and hoped they would be able to reopen soon,” said Boornazian.
Harry’s has been a staple for students on campus for some time now.
Sophomore Ally Pascarella frequented the seafood restaurant with her family.
“Harry’s is one of my favorite restaurants to go to in Lakeland and it is a place that my parents like to go to when they visit. I was worried the fire was worse than it ended up being but hoped everyone was okay,” said Pascarella.
Harry’s was originally founded by Louis and Greg Saig in Louisiana in 1987, their goal was to introduce bold flavors and authentic ingredients into their menu to give customers a taste of New Orleans.
Their website states, “We believe our customers deserve that little extra-effort that takes an ordinary experience to extraordinary.”
“I know a handful of students go for birthdays, celebrations, and dates, or just go on a casual occasion. Harry’s had an impact on me by making me appreciate New Orleans style food. This restaurant has really expanded my pallet. Anytime my parents come down, Harry’s is the first place we go to. For a lot of college students Harry’s is a positive memory where they go to eat and strengthen their friendships,” said Boornazian.