How Tucker's is trying to rise from the ashes

Posted at 5:18 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 17:18:49-04

CINCINNATI -- Tucker's turns 69 years old Saturday. Carla and Joe Tucker aren't sure if their Over-the-Rhine restaurant will make it to its 70th birthday.

But they've got their neighborhood trying to help them rise from the ashes.

A fire destroyed Tucker's kitchen July 27 after an employee forgot to turn off a stove.


Tucker's will be closed until further notice as we struggle to make sense of the fire that began in our kitchen last...

Posted by Tucker's Restaurant (Vine Street) on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The restaurant has been closed since the fire.

Tucker's kitchen has to be gutted; repairs are estimated to cost $65,000, far more than originally estimated.

The kitchen at Tucker's will have to be gutted. Photo by WCPO

Long-time customers are rallying to raise money for the neighborhood institution: Jean-Francois Flechet, owner of Taste of Belgium and a long-time Tucker's customer, set up an online store to help raise money for repairs, and Chris Heckman, a designer, created gift cards -- in denominations of $25, $50 and $100 -- to be sold at the City Flea from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Washington Park.

Fun Fact: Tucker's was the first restaurant to put tartar sauce on a burger -- not Frisch's. You can read more about that history right here.

"We have been involved in this community for a really long time, and we have always been giving back," Joe Tucker said in a news release. "It's amazing to be on the receiving end and see so many supportive people in the community, from our customers, neighbors to total strangers."

Heckman also set up a GoFundMe campaign, which so far has raised $15,000. That's helped the Tuckers get started on hiring an architect and a general contractor.