A landmark Old Orchard Beach restaurant will remain closed until further notice after an early-morning fire caused extensive water and smoke damage to theĀ  building.

The Old Orchard Beach Fire Department responded to the report of a building fire at Joseph’s by the Sea, 55 West Grand Ave., around 5:50 a.m. Monday. Crews brought the fire under control by 9:30 a.m. There was no one in the restaurant when the fire broke out and no injuries were reported.

“We are so very thankful the building was vacant at the time and no one was harmed,” Joseph’s by the Sea owners said in a Facebook post. “We are also thankful to the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department for their quick response and fast action to contain the fire. Due to extensive water and smoke damage we will unfortunately be closed until further notice.”

The restaurant’s owners vowed to reopen and said they will post updates in the weeks ahead as they undertake the effort to rebuild their business.

“We’ll miss everyone and can’t wait to open our doors once again,” the owners said.

Fire officials said the fire started in a small room near the kitchen. A maintenance worker at a nearby hotel spotted the fire and called 911. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Joseph’s by the Sea was opened in 1968 by Joseph and Mariette Dussault. Management of the restaurant was passed down to their children until it was sold in December 2020 to Scott and Barbara McCrum.

Scott McCrum told News Center Maine that he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the restaurant since he purchased Joseph’s and that he was having a great 2021 season.

Fans of the eatery, town residents and customers lamented the loss of the popular dining spot. Their sentiments were captured in posts on Facebook that were close to exceeding 200 comments Monday night.

“Every year we go to OOB. It has been our tradition to go to Joseph’s by the Sea for dinner the first night we are there,” one woman wrote. “The food is amazing and the service is impeccable. The view of the ocean is spectacular. Our hearts go out to the restaurant owners and staff.”

“I am so sorry, many a breakfast and dinner has been enjoyed at your wonderful restaurant, as a little girl with my grandparents and in recent years with my better half … hoping you will reopen soon,” another longtime customer wrote.

“I just want to cry. So glad everyone is safe and you’ll open again when you can,” a woman posted.

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