Oelwein shaken after losing Luigi's Restaurant - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein shaken after losing Luigi's Restaurant

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An eastern Iowa community is shaken after losing a landmark restaurant in a fire.

Luigi's Restaurant & Lounge caught fire Saturday afternoon, the business is now considered a total loss.

Flames and smoke engulfed the 57-year-old business, destroying everything in its path. 

Many people stopped by the restaurant Sunday to get one last look at the historic building

"It's just unbelievable," said Beverly Steggall, Oelwein.  "It's been there for so long, I just can't believe it."

Luigi's Restaurant opened in 1959. The fire took those 57 years from a family and a community.

"The community is at a loss since this has happened to them and it's very, very sad," said Beverly.

Beverly has lived next to the popular restaurant for over 50 years, she says she can't believe Luigi's is gone.

"They were just an all in restaurant really, you know they did everything and everybody is going to miss it, really bad," said Beverly.

People who stopped by the restaurant after the fire say they are speechless. One man says he worked at Luigi's for 29 years. He says, not only did he lose his job, he lost a part of him in the fire.

People in the area coping with the loss in their own way.

"I can't imagine myself going through what they are going through right now, I can't imagine it," said Beverly.

Something Beverly also can't imagine is looking next door and no longer seeing the restaurant she has seen for more than 50 years.

"I miss the lights, at night you could always look over there and see the street lights and the security lights on around there," said Beverly. "That's what I am going to miss, last night seemed so dark, it's unbelievable."

Beverly and many others are hoping the family rebuilds and reopens a new restaurant in its place.

Workers say the restaurant was open during the time of the fire, but nobody was was hurt.

The cause remains under investigation, but owners say they believe it started in the kitchen.

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