Around 3:30 a.m. on May 30, 2017, local firefighters were dispatched to the locally beloved Farmers Inn restaurant, located at 759 Shaffer Road, just north of Sigel on State Route 949 in Jefferson County.
Sigel Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Justin Miller said the first two trucks that responded could see the flames as they crested a hill in the distance. The fire was reportedly even seen from Brookville, which is nearly 10 miles away.
The restaurant building, which also housed bakery, an ice cream parlor, and a gift shop, was completely destroyed, but luckily, it was the only structure with severe damage, and no one was injured in the blaze.
The business had just celebrated its 40th anniversary when the fire occurred.
Owner Kim Lucas was understandably distraught by the fire but decided immediately that they would rebuild.
Barely one week after the fire, Farmers Inn was back up and running on a limited basis. The petting zoo, gift/bulk store, three mini-golf courses, driving range, and the outpost opened for business, while the plans for rebuilding the main restaurant structure began to take shape.
Now, nearly a year later, the new building is finished, and Farmers Inn has reopened.
Before the big reopening, a “Sneak Peek” event was held on Saturday, April 7.
Owner Kim Lucas said, “The Sneak Peak went great. The weather was cold, but we had a great turn out. People came in to see what we were doing, and it seemed like everyone enjoyed it.”
The event included everything from a live music to square dancing.
“It kind of took off the edge of the first day. It was good that people got to come in and take a look before we actually opened. And, it was fun,” Lucas said.
The grand opening weekend for the newly rebuilt restaurant was held Friday, April 20, through Sunday, April 22.
According to Lucas, they had hoped to open the restaurant in time for the first day of trout season, but a delay in getting an important piece of kitchen equipment held things up a bit.
The Farmers Inn restaurant is currently open weekends only. The zoo and gift shop are not yet open for the season, but Lucas said she’s hoping to have them open soon.
“We’re working on getting the gift shop open, we’re hoping for this weekend for that and the zoo. There are lots of babies for people to come and see,” Lucas said.
The Farmers Inn will remain open weekends only until Mother’s Day, on Sunday, May 13, after which they will be open seven days per week.
Lucas also remains grateful for the support they’ve received throughout the fallout of the fire and the entire rebuilding process.
“Customers have been very nice about coming back. Everybody who worked on the project was great. It came out good, and it seems to be working well. It’s not the same, but other than trying to rearrange to make things smoother, it is coming along well.”
For more information, call 814-752-2942 or go to Farmers Inn Facebook page.