Employees, Patrons Visit Restaurant’s Charred Site

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BUTLER TOWNSHIP -- Damenti's Restaurant in Mountain Top was transformed into an inferno as a blazing fire broke out around 11 p.m. Monday.

Fire crews from several communities battled the flames but in just a matter of hours, the long-time popular establishment on Route 309 was gone.

Throughout the day, those who ate and worked at Damenti`s stopped to gaze at the charred remains.

“It was a nice place to work, everybody was friendly, everybody took care of everybody else so nothing but good things to say about the place,” said employee Joe Evanick.

Kevin McDonald, Damenti`s owner was too upset to talk on camera.

He says he and his wife were inside their home located above the restaurant when he heard smoke alarms.

After opening their door to a wall of smoke, he and his wife ran from the building.

McDonald says now the business they loved and the place where they lived are gone.

However McDonald and his employees say they are glad the couple is safe.

“The main concern was making sure Helen and Kevin got out OK because this is their livelihood, this is all they know so it`s tough, it`s got to be tough,” said Evanick.

Damenti`s is also well known for its popular wintertime ice bar that raises money for area charities.

Teeriann Chivers says her daughter`s 21st birthday was celebrated at the ice bar three years ago and Chivers was hoping to bring her back this year.

“You go in there and have a drink right on the bar and its cold!” said Chivers. “It’s really nice and the people were just as nice and they did beautiful sculptures. It`s a shame, I hope they rebuild.”