The Times West Virginian

August 26, 2012

Firehouse Café moves to new downtown location

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The Firehouse Café is seeing new faces every day at its new location.

Owners Mark and Monica Delbrook, who are Fairmont natives, recently moved their family-friendly restaurant to 323 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont, which is just one door over from the business’ former home.

The Firehouse Café offers soups, salads, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, quesadillas, chicken wings, desserts, espresso drinks and more. Customers can enjoy daily specials, which could be anything from pulled pork barbecue sliders to meatball hoagies.

The restaurant, with its new open fire grill, will also provide hamburgers and other grilled items and hopes to start family-style dinners in the future.

“Everything we make ourselves,” Monica said.

She said they have extended their menu and look forward to offering even more in the future based on what the public wants.

The Delbrooks started The Firehouse Café on Jan. 17 because of Mark’s love of cooking. They also wanted to do their share to help Fairmont grow and support the community, Monica said.

“We just thought it was a perfect time,” she said.

After running the restaurant for about half a year, Mark and Monica saw the need for growth. Plus, with the new state office building coming to the 400 block of Adams Street, they wanted to be able to accommodate more people.

“We were kind of limited over there with our seating capacity and our seating space,” Monica said. “The opportunity came and we jumped.”

The Firehouse Café stopped operations at its initial location at the end of June. The business was closed for about a month while the space next door, which was previously a night club, was completely renovated.

“It’s been quite the transformation,” Mark said.

The work included extensive cleaning, painting, and remodeling of the bathrooms, kitchen and dining area.

“It was a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it,” Monica said. “We’re really pleased.”

The restaurant opened at its new home at 323 Adams St. on Aug. 3, and business has been great so far, she said. Emergency personnel often dine there.

Mark added that retired firefighters, from in town and out of state, come to The Firehouse Café pretty regularly. Many of the people who have stopped by the new location are new customers for the business.

Monica commented that the facility is much bigger than the old place, with more than double the seating and triple the footage. The space provides better accessibility and visibility, and features more of a storefront and big windows that bring in sunlight. The window design was painted by Melissa Simpson, who is also the cook.

The building also has a stage area, which will be used in the evenings for music, open mic, poetry and other family entertainment in the future. The Delbrooks are in the process of lining up some performers.

“I’m really looking forward to that part,” Monica said.

The new location still has the firehouse theme and features the same color schemes and decorations as before. But the Delbrooks are displaying even more mementos, many donated by family, friends and retired firefighters, and started collecting fire department patches.

“We like the people,” Monica said. “We like seeing new faces and pleasing them and making sure they’re happy.”

Monica’s cousin, Brittany Ellis, works at the restaurant as a waitress. The Delbrooks’ children, Ashleigh Lemasters and Trevlin, Lauren and Marissa Delbrook, also help out and are learning about good values, work ethic and going for their dreams.

Monica said she and Mark are very thankful for the support their family and friends have provided.

“We’ve been very lucky,” she said.

The Delbrooks try to support local businesses and have been taking advantage of the Fairmont Farmers Market. They advertise locally and have their menus and placemats printed in the area.

In addition, they sell products like West Virginia’s Mr. Bee Potato Chips and MJ’s Awesome Mountain Made hot pepper jelly and hot pepper mustard, a company out of Colfax.

The restaurant recently hosted a 53-person tour group from Johnstown, Pa., and Mark and Monica hope it becomes a regular stop for the party.

The Firehouse Café is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The space is available for private parties and meetings on weekends.

For more information, call 304-534-8003.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.