Brooker T's Cafe in Lexington catches on fire Tuesday afternoon

A popular downtown Lexington restaurant caught on fire Tuesday afternoon.

Brooker T's Cafe at 103 S. Main St. caught on fire around 3 p.m. and it quickly spread, according to onlookers. Information from Lexington City Fire Department officials was not available as firefighters are still on the scene.

The restaurant was closed when people across the street in another restaurant, Roots on Main, noticed a flame through the windows at Brooker T's Cafe, according to Matt Taylor, assistant manager at Backyard Retreat, a store across Main Street from Brooker T's. Since opening earlier this year, Brooker T's is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

"I was walking through the store like I tend to do in the afternoon when I noticed Michael (Moorefield), the chef at Roots on Main, standing in front of Brooker T's on the phone and the gates were down. It was about 3 p.m. I was wondering why he was standing there and then I saw a flame through the window of the restaurant. It looked like the flame was where the podium is for the hostess when you go inside. I figured then he was on the phone with the fire department."

Firefighters with Lexington City shoot water into an upper floor window of Brooker T's Cafe on Main Street in downtown. The restaurant was closed when it caught on fire Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters with Lexington City shoot water into an upper floor window of Brooker T's Cafe on Main Street in downtown. The restaurant was closed when it caught on fire Tuesday afternoon.

Taylor said he watched as the windows in the restaurant began to burst during the fire.

Several firefighters for Lexington City and Linwood Rural Fire Department responded with various fire trucks. By 4 p.m. some smoke was still coming from the restaurant and and it appeared covered in black soot or blackened from fire damage. The store next to Brooker T's Cafe, Magnolia's, also had smoke or fire damage.

Lexington Police Chief Robby Rummage said as soon as the 911 call came in for the fire, his officers arrived to secure several blocks of downtown streets in all directions from Brooker T's "to give these firemen room to work." The entire block and most of each side street were closed to traffic. Onlookers gathered behind yellow crime scene tape watching.

The Dispatch will continue t follow this story and provide updates as firefighters are able.

Mother and daughter team Tammy Cornell and Brooke Bishop opened the restaurant in April 2022 after purchasing the location from the owners of the former Cafe 35.

Jill Doss-Raines is The Dispatch trending topics and personality profiles senior reporter and is always looking for tips about businesses and entertainment events, secret and new menu items, and interesting people in Davidson County. Contact me at jill.doss-raines@the-dispatch.com and subscribe to us at the-dispatch.com.

This article originally appeared on The Dispatch: Downtown Lexington restaurant damaged by fire