Owners of Billie’s Fine Food vow to reopen after fire destroys kitchen

ST. LOUIS - The owners of Billie’s Fine Foods  on South Broadway say it’s not just a business.  The south St. Louis diner is more like their child.  A fire at the restaurant on Saturday night has left their kitchen destroyed.  Investigators have yet to determine what caused that fire to start. The building will remain boarded up until the investigation is finished.

“It looks like the building is solid but the interior itself, everything will need to be rebuilt,” said co-owner Lauren Zych.

She and her longtime friend Kelly Kaighin purchased the restaurant approximately 3 months ago.  Zych was diagnosed with thyroid cancer shortly after the duo committed to opening the restaurant.

“We decided to move forward,” said Zych.  “I was going to fight the cancer and she was going to hold it down.  We were going to continue on with this dream.”

The owners say in a short amount of time they have already developed regular customer who enjoy the restaurant’s breakfast bowls and hamburgers.  Some of those regulars have contributed to a GoFundMe account to help the owners get back on their feet.

“Words just can’t describe how much we appreciate and love and we thank everybody for everything they’ve done for us,” said Kaighin.

She and Zych are St. Louis natives and say Billie’s will re-open.  They have taped a poster board with a handwritten message on the boarded-up storefront.

“We love and appreciate all of our people. Thank you for your love and support.  Can’t wait to see you again. Love Lauren and Kelli.”

The owners promise to reopen as soon as possible.

“We can’t wait to open our doors and have everyone in for some bacon and eggs again,” said Kaighin.

“When you walk out the front door of Billie’s you’ve got Anheuser Busch on your left and the Arch on the right,” said Zych.   “It’s so St. louis. It’s very dear to our hearts.  This is our baby.”