Georgetown businesses coming back to life a month after massive fire

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - Several businesses destroyed in the Front Street fire have begun to pick up the pieces after a little more than a month.

Peter Scalise, owner of Zest and 700 Modern Bar & Grill said, "It's been 30 days on the 25th, so it's been quite a month."

A lot has happened for Scalise since the massive fire on September 25th.

"We went from a building with nothing in it to a fully functional kitchen and restaurant with the help of everyone in the community," said Scalise.

The restaurant has a new location with a new name, changing over from Zest to 700 Modern Bar & Grill.

Scalise said, "We just moved down 2 blocks to 916 Front Street and in tribute to the 700 block, we developed a new menu for this location."

The old building on the 700 block of Front Street may be gone, but Scalise managed to salvage one of the only remaining pieces of the building.

"The sign from the fire," said Scalise.

Made of durable powder coated steel, the sign is still intact.

"The city asked me if there's anything from the building you would like to keep and we said yes. They grabbed it for us when it fell and put it aside," said Scalise.

Along with the set back of losing their building to the fire, employees are now coping with the loss of their chef, Chris Kirwin.

Kirwin was killed last week in a motorcycle accident.

Scalise said, "Everyone here knows him as "Sushi Chris."

Flowers are now on display inside the restaurant in his memory.

"He lived in Myrtle Beach, so he was commuting down at 7 in the morning when this happened," said Scalise.

From the menu, to the sign, a lot about the new restaurant pays tribute to what was lost.

"Our logo is a flag and 7 buildings that burnt down and the star in the center of the flag is for Chris," said Scalise.

Scalise says the community has given an overwhelming amount of encouragement for the businesses destroyed. Signatures of support fill signs along the fence in front of the rubble.

Scalise said, "We're going to rebuild Zest as soon as we can. I was just telling someone the other day, since this is a sailing community and the boating community, the wind's been blowing and our sails have been up. We're just trying to move forward through all this."

Tuesday night the restaurant held a memorial for Chris Kirwin, the chef who was killed in the motorcycle accident.

700 Modern Bar & Grill is expected to open their doors Monday, selling everything from sushi, pizza and burgers.

Other businesses that are also in the process of opening are Doddlebugs, Colonial Florist, Harborwalk Books and Boardwalk Boutique.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.