JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — Deputies say the popular Mulligan's Beach House Bar and Grill in Jensen Beach caught fire overnight Monday.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook that the restaurant, located at 2019 Northeast Jensen Beach Boulevard, suffered significant damage.
Our WPTV news crew at the scene said the front of the business is charred and blackened, there is damage to a large sign near the front door, and the front windows were severely cracked and needed to be removed.
At least five Tiki huts in front of the restaurant were also badly damaged.
One of the restaurant's owners said he received a call from the sheriff's office around 3 a.m. telling him his business was on fire.
Despite the blaze, Mulligan's is back open for business on Monday, and the owner said most of the damage is cosmetic.
Workers spent most of Monday morning repainting the outside of the property.
REPORT FROM SCENE:
"In 22 years, I don’t think we’ve been missing a stacking chair in 22 years, so this is a shock," said owner George Hart.
"We had to clean up the mess and take out the windows and get ready to reopen," said Joe Ferreira, head of maintenance.
Hostess Cheyenne Pinkstaff said she got a call not to come in, then another one saying they were open for business.
"Still have my job, still happy. Hope they fix it and find whoever did it because whoever did this, it’s just not right," Pinkstaff said.
Next door, a lotion-like substance was splattered on the window of the Island Root Kava Bar, and their cacti planted out front were ripped out.
Deputies are looking for surveillance video, as the Fire Marshal’s Office looked into whether the fire was deliberately set or an accident.
Preliminary investigation indicated the fire was accidental, but deputies are searching for those responsible for vandalizing at least one business.
"I think it’s important that if someone tries to damage your business that you don’t let that hurt you," Hart said. "Our customers expect us to be open and we wanted to be open at eight o’clock as usual."
Hart estimates the damage to his business at around $25,000
According to Mulligan's Beach House Bar and Grill's website, the company was founded in 1997 and has six locations throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast.