It was seven years ago when fire raced through the Mezza Luna Restaurant on Main Street in Buzzards Bay, gutting the building and putting dozens of people out of work. Shortly after the fire, members of the Bourne community stepped up to help their fellow residents. Area restaurants, including the Trowbridge Tavern and the Sandwich Taverna, held fundraisers for Mezza Luna employees who suddenly found themselves out of a job and with no income.
Flash forward to present day, and the owners of the Mezza Luna, long since back in business, repaid the favor by holding their own benefit last Sunday. This one was held for another group of local restaurant employees whose jobs have been put on hold by a fire.
On January 21, fire broke out in the kitchen of the Parrot Bar & Grill on Route 28A in Cataumet. Firefighters said there was more smoke than fire and they used a water extinguisher to put out the flames. An alert employee at the neighboring Daily Brew Coffee House noticed the smoke and called the Bourne Fire Department. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, so no one was hurt.
“I can’t thank Mezza Luna enough for all they did,” Brian M. Crocker, co-owner of the Parrot said in a recent telephone interview.
The event was held Sunday afternoon. Approximately 250 people attended, and they raised roughly $7,000 for out-of-work employees that include the restaurant’s bartenders, waiters and kitchen staff. He said that Mezza Luna owner Emilio J. (E.J.) Cubellis put out a buffet of spaghetti and meatballs, pizza and bread that delighted people who attended.
“I had several calls from people raving about the meatballs,” Mr. Crocker said.
The event included a silent auction. Mr. Crocker said that there was a wide range of prizes available, including golf shop items, fishing gear and liquor from local distributors.
“Businesses from Falmouth to Wareham all contributed,” he said.
The Parrot was only supposed to be closed for a couple of weeks, but six weeks later the establishment remains shuttered. Mr. Crocker said that the process for filing insurance claims has taken a lot longer than he thought it would.
“The adjuster comes in and says this needs to be done, that needs to be done,” he said.
“It’s been a long drawn-out thing with insurance, and we’ve had to redo some things, but hopefully it will make the place better,” he said.
James F. Callan, a close friend of Mr. Crocker and a frequent patron of the Parrot, works in the construction business. He said that he and fellow friends in the business offered to help out in the immediate aftermath of the fire, doing whatever rebuilding and painting they could just to get the restaurant back up and running, but the repairs were more extensive than anticipated.
Mr. Callan attended Sunday’s event. He characterized the community that frequents the Parrot as “blue collar” and “ready to help out when needed” especially in today’s tight economy.
“It’s good to see the amount of people who came and put their best foot forward,” he said.
Mr. Crocker said that he is hoping to re-open the Parrot next month. He said that everyone is anxious to get back to work, and there will be a posting of some kind when they are ready to get back to business.
“We’ll have a grand re-opening week, and if this past weekend is any indication, we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
Anyone who could not attend Sunday’s fundraiser but would like to contribute to the employee fund can still donate to the Parrot Bar & Grill Relief Fund, c/o Rockland Trust, 2995 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, MA 02538.