September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Community reacts to loss of historic Walnut Grove restaurant

Local News

WALNUT GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — A popular historic Walnut Grove restaurant was destroyed after it caught fire Thursday afternoon.

All that’s left of the 100-year-old Giusti’s Place is a pile of burned wood and appliances. The cause is still under investigation.

The people of this small community told FOX40 they can’t believe their second home is no longer here.

“The hats when you walked in — it was very unique and different,” said Sherry Stanley, a former employee and patron. “No other restaurant was like this.

Giusti’s Place was like a second home for many Walnut Grove residents, like Stanley. But now, she’s left only with a feeling:

“Sadness, mostly because it’s gone,” Stanley said. “It was going to be gone and there was nothing you could do about it.”

The restaurant and bar caught fire Thursday afternoon. Crews did their best to save the popular hangout spot — but even with their best effort, it was a total loss.

For owner mark Morais, that was tough to process.

“To have that building and business for so long, and to have it just disappear within an hour — it’s been tough,” Morais said. “I lost my mother when I was 25 years old in a tragic car accident, and I think this was tougher.”

Even though it’s still unclear as to what happened, Morais believed it started with a small fire around the water heater that his son tried to put out.

“He extinguished it but apparently it snuck up the wall and it started to burn pretty rapidly,” Morais said. “It got a little out of control and with the little bit of breeze yesterday and the old timber in that building — it’s been there over 100 years — there was no way you were going to stop it.”

Even though the future of Giusti’s is still unclear, Morais did tell FOX40 the silver lining in all of this — he was looking forward to sleeping-in this morning and not having to wake up early to make clam chowder.

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