Early morning fire destroys Nana's Diner
A Tuesday morning fire destroyed popular Golden Gate restaurant Nana’s Diner and displaced one apartment resident, fire officials said.
Dispatchers received a call at about 4 a.m. and spent about 45 minutes controlling the blaze, Golden Gate assistant fire chief Nolan Sapp said. Investigators are examining the kitchen of Nana’s Diner as a possible starting point, though no conclusions have been reached, Sapp said. More than 40 firefighters from Golden Gate, East Naples and North Naples fire districts responded.
The fire was about three-quarters involved at Nana’s Diner when firefighters arrived on the scene, Sapp said. Smoke spread into an attached apartment, where a resident escaped without injuries. Sapp said the resident is receiving assistance from the Red Cross.
The 125-seat diner has earned a reputation for down-home food, embodied by its motto: “Southern food with an attitude.” The diner opened in 2000 when the original owner, Nana Vetta, bought the restaurant formerly known as Bad Boys Diner. Vetta’s daughter, Teonta Tems, took ownership of the diner in 2009 after her mother retired.
Standing outside the restaurant Tuesday morning, Tems vowed to re-establish the restaurant. Tems said she had insurance on the building, though she didn't know how much it would help.
“Has it hit me yet? No. I’ve got to figure out how to start over, but I will," Tems said. "I want to stay in Golden Gate. In this area, we’re known. If I have to pitch a tent in the front yard, I will. I don’t know how yet, but I’ll figure it out.”
Tems said she hasn't received any information about what started the fire. A waitress arriving at about 4 a.m. found the fire and called Tems, who rushed to the scene.
Tems said regulars started showing up at the diner at about 5:30 a.m. for their morning coffee, even though the restaurant didn't open for another half-hour. For the regulars, Tems had a message:
“My biggest thing to them is just give me a little bit," Tems said, "and I’ll get you breakfast as soon as I can, baby doll.”