Seminole Heights residents awoke to shocking news this morning that a fire had devastated a favorite restaurant and retail spot — Domani Bistro & Lounge
and A Modern Line
, located on Florida Avenue at North Street — around 2 a.m. on Tues., Feb. 18.
No injuries have been reported and no word yet from fire officials on how the fire started. Both owners left comments on their Facebook pages about their grief and shock.
The blaze appears to have originated from Domani’s, where the roof completely caved in and little remained except a few strangely pristine chairs and scattered debris.
The fire spread from Domani's to A Modern Line’s roof, covering the shop’s one-of-a-kind merchandise with dust and ash. Neighbors and friends volunteered to clean and move salvaged items onto a moving van rented to deliver the pieces to a storage unit. Curtains hung over fences as volunteers lugged furniture and boxes and wiped down everything in sight.
Stephanno’s provided boxes of pizzas and the Seminole Heights Publix donated a sandwich tray and drinks.
Sherry King, who’s active in Seminole Heights civic organizations and owns the nearby Sherry’s Yesterdaze
, worked for hours outside. King operates A Modern Line, a vintage furniture consignment boutique, with husband/owner David Call.
Flushed and visibly shaken, her eyes bloodshot, she said she was awakened in the middle of the night by the horrible news. It took two phone calls, one to her and one to her husband’s cell to get through. The fact that her son was out of town shook her out of slumber. “I almost didn’t answer the phone,” she said.
King put out a call for help this morning and was moved by a strong show of community support. Familiar locals such as singer-songwriter Ronny Elliott, Tampa activist Kelly Benjamin, and Ella’s co-owner Melissa Deming showed up to help clean up the damage at a Modern Line.
When asked whether the landlord's or her husband’s insurance would cover the damage, she replied, “I just can’t wrap my brain around that right now. … To me this is the real story here,” King said pointing to the friends and neighbors laboriously helping out.
“I’ve just been doing my best to wrangle everyone to help,” said Ella's Deming. The restaurant proprietor said that a million things could go wrong to cause a fire in a restaurant.
“Who knows what happened?” said Deming. “It’s hard enough to get a place open, just to have it destroyed by a fire. It’s heartbreaking.”
Neighbor Shelby Hinds showed her support on Facebook Tuesday morning — “2:30 this morning I woke up to a howling dog and immediately smelled smoke. Two lots down from my house, I walked down to see Domani Bistro and A Modern Line up in flames. I couldn't help but stay the whole time, saddened for the three amazing owners own these companies, and fearful that it wouldn't be able to be contained. I've never witnessed such a terrible fire happen so close to home, and I wish I could never say that I did. Best wishes to Brian Bosco and David and Sherry from A Modern Line for the future of their businesses. I am just a few steps away if there's anything I can do to help. Seminole Heights isn't the same.”
The restaurant, owned by Bosco, has been a favorite among residents who enjoy its authentic Italian cuisine with a contemporary fusion flourish and artful cocktails (Bosco is an award-winning bartender, too). Recent talk about the restaurant possibly converting into a sports-friendly establishment had drawn some complaints from regulars.
Speaking of Facebook, a page for the Friends of Domani Bistro & Lounge
has been created so supporters can find out how to help.
“Domani's has always been a very family and neighborhood-oriented place,” said clean-up volunteer and Seminole Heights resident Michelle Sandburg. “I brought my child there tons of times. We know almost everyone that works there and they've always been terrific to us.”