Harker Heights restaurant owner back in business at new location days after losing kitchen in fire

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 9:05 PM CST
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HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) - A small business owner is starting over after a fire destroyed parts of his restaurant the day before Thanksgiving.

The fire started in the pit inside the kitchen, and he says an unhoused resident he would pay to do small jobs around the restaurant ignited the pit.

“With the doors being open, with all the wind and oxygen, that fire got uncontained. By the time I got there, I couldn’t believe it,” JR Scott, owner of Just Cookin’ BBQ & More, recalled.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. The Harker Heights Fire Department said the blaze it started as a small flare up, but quickly reignited and torched the kitchen.

This fire destroyed Scott’s inventory the day before a major holiday, and he had to refund dozens of turkey orders.

“Some people reached out and I was able to contact mostly everybody. Some people donated the money that they already paid for it, and I refunded a lot of them back as well,” Scott said.

This isn’t his first experience with a tragic loss. Before losing his storefront, he lost his chef and lifelong friend, Jimmy. He says his guardian angel is giving him the strength to move forward.

“Jimmy is looking down, telling me to keep going,” Scott said fighting back tears.

Just six days after the fire, JR was able to reopen in a temporary location inside the Harker Heights event center. Even with the loss, the support from the community is substantial enough that he still walked away a winner.

“We won in two categories for best of the best in Central Texas, we won best soul food and best catering,” Scott said with pride.

On top of that, more than $2,000 has been raised to help keep him going and he says he is waiting for the day that he can pay it forward.

In a continued effort to support JR and his family, the event center has invited chefs from across the area to come out on Saturday.

People will be able to enjoy all kinds of food and the money raised will go directly towards helping JR get back on his feet.

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