In late 2021, an electrical fire at a Destin, Florida pizzeria caused extensive damage to the 650-seat restaurant’s all-wood interior, structure, and roof. Because of the establishment’s popularity and large footprint in a high-traffic area, every day it wasn’t serving up pizzas meant thousands of dollars in lost revenue. With the busy tourist period rapidly approaching, there was no time to waste in getting the building restored and the restaurant back open for business. Having worked with FIRST ONSITE in the past, the restaurant owner called the restoration company to take on the challenge. In conjunction with the fire department, insurance companies, and various other vendors, FIRST ONSITE assessed the situation and determined a course of action. Intending to get the pizzeria reopened in time for Spring Break four months later, the team had their work cut out for them.


Before any restoration could get underway, extensive mitigation was needed to alleviate the smoke, soot, and water damage. A team of ten worked tirelessly for fifteen days encapsulating and containing affected areas and equipment, removing wet insulation and drywall, cleaning and sanitizing anything damaged by smoke or soot, and generally preparing the property for the next step – gutting the interior.


While the mitigation team prepared the property for the next phase, the FIRST ONSITE project managers worked with the business owner and insurance carriers to draft an estimate for reconstruction and restoration. Because of the extent of the fire damage, and the fact that the structure was made almost entirely of wood, it was determined it would be best to strip the building to the studs and rebuild. All parties agreed on the estimate for the cost of the work and set a goal of having the restaurant ready to reopen in 90 days Having previously established relationships with HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and flooring companies, the restaurant relied on the cooperation of a large roster of vendors to work together to accomplish the task. FIRST ONSITE held regular meetings with each of the vendors, provided photos and reports to stakeholders, and had consistent check-ins with restaurant management to make sure that what could have been a very chaotic and disorganized phase of the project, went smoothly.


Once structural reconstruction was complete and the damaged insulation, drywall, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and flooring were replaced, it was time to finish restoring the intricate details of the establishment’s interior, roof, and façade. Before the fire, the building’s two-story wood structure was adorned with elaborate ceiling fixtures, large exposed rafters, decorative siding, and an ornate mansard roof. These handcrafted elements were a calling card of the venue, and they needed to be restored identically to their pre-loss state. FIRST ONSITE subcontracted the carpentry work to a team of craftsmen based in the area. Having wholly replaced the roof with a new and more modern one during the reconstruction phase of the project, this team had a clean slate when trying to duplicate the artistry of the pre-loss carpentry. They based their work on detailed photographs and documentation, working fast and furious to get the job done just as tourists were starting to arrive for Spring Break.


Thanks to four months of hard work, the popular pizza joint was back to serving hungry beachgoers by Spring Break. By relying on trusted local vendors, and forging relationships with new ones, FIRST ONSITE was able to restore the property to its pre-loss state on time and within budget. Not only that, but with the help of some strategic remodeling and the addition of a second pizza oven, the restaurant was able to double its output and recoup some of its losses from the prior four months.

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