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Damaging Fire Sparks Emotion at Popular Restaurant in Sherwood

'Yeah man, it hurts'

SHERWOOD, Ark. - For Willie Martin, walking into work has never been more disappointing.

"You can kind of smell the smoke," Martin says while making his way toward JoJo's barbecue restaurant in Sherwood.

"You can see the ceiling falling in," Martin says.

A charred kitchen sits empty inside Jojo's restaurant on Wednesday after an early morning fire ripped through one of Sherwood's most popular spots.

"It's kind of sad a little bit to see this," Kevin Randolph says.

Randolph grew up coming here.

"You know as much time as I spent in this place at some point, it's definitely a loss to Sherwood."

The restaurant is located along Fred Rains Drive. That street is named after the building's original owner.

In the 1950s, it operated as an appliance store and the two-story structure was dubbed: 'Sherwood's only skyscraper.'

But, now the mood here droops lower than ever.

I just put $1,400 worth of food in this place yesterday," Martin says.

Martin, who has spent more than a decade here, can't hold back tears while mourning a place and a menu he loves.

"Yeah man, it hurts." Martin says.

"It's going to take time, but... we'll make it."

"The Sherwood Fire Department is still investigating a potential cause for the fire, but officials say aging and an equipment malfunction were factors in the blaze. 

The owner says the building is about 65 percent damaged.

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