JUNE 9, 2005 --Three generations of hard work, good food, and memories went up in flames at one of Clinton's historic landmarks Thursday. The owner of Kaleel's City Grill, Johnny Kaleel, watched as firefighters had to destroy what's left of the one-hundred-two year old building. The lunch hour blaze starte on the second floor sending about thirty customers and five employees out the door. Frenzie Jackson is a longtime employee and cook. She smelled smoke, saw the fire, and spread the word.
Everyone on the block was quickly evacuated as fire departments from around the area scrambled to the scene. The roof collapsed on the second floor, forcing firefighters to use heavy equipment to get in and get the hot spots out.
Kaleel has an extensive collection of memorabilia, but only a few items from inside can be salvaged. He is upbeat about rebuilding, saying the community wouldn't have it any other way. Now they'll have to go to a new building to find the food they used to enjoy in an old family business.