Cha Cha Hut destroyed in blaze

By Brian Sweeney
A popular Roxbury restaurant was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning.
Firefighters were called to the Cha Cha Hut on Bridge Street about 2 a.m. and found the building engulfed in flames. Because of the advanced state of the fire, volunteers dedicated much of their effort to save another restaurant, The Public Lounge, which is located in close proximity.
Roxbury Fire Chief Allen Hinkley said his department, with assistance from Grand Gorge and Halcottsville firefighters, was able to protect the adjacent building and save the basic structure of the Cha Cha Hut. Between fire and water damage, the restaurant was declared a total loss. Both of the restaurant’s smokers were also lost in the blaze.
The business, which was operated by Frank and Cherie Davis, was opened in January. Featuring assorted barbecue specialties, the eatery had rapidly gained a loyal following.
The fire was spotted by Bill Buccheri, a Bridge Street neighbor. He alerted the fire department and the quick response is being credited with saving The Public Lounge.
“It was going pretty well when we got there,” explained Chief Hinkley.
He said that while the Cha Cha Hut could not be saved, the work in controlling the fire was good and prevented an even larger disaster.
“The guys did a good job. They made a good stop,” the RFD chief said.
Chief Hinkley said that the fire started in the rear of the building. He said that Delaware County Emergency Services investigators have been at the scene, but no official cause has been listed.
Some neighbors said they heard what sounded like an explosion, but Chief Hinkley said the noise may have been windows popping out due to extreme heat.
The Roxbury chief estimated that the one-story building was about 1,200 square feet. He said the building previously served as Fane’s Deli and was an apartment prior to becoming a commercial enterprise. The building was owned by Bridge Street Associates.
Firefighters remained on the scene until about 8 a.m. No injuries were reported. Margaretville and Stamford firefighters provided standby assistance.
Although the Davises were devastated by the incident, they are planning to reestablish their business.
“Yes, we want to reopen. We would love to reopen in Roxbury,” Cherie stated. “We would love to do some mobile vending until we are up and running in a permanent space again. We hope to be vending by June 19.”