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January 05. 2014 8:06PM

Part-owner says Woodshed Restaurant in Moultonborough unlikely to be rebuilt

MOULTONBOROUGH — As fire investigators continue to search for the cause of the fire that destroyed the landmark Woodshed Restaurant on Thanksgiving, one of the owners says the restaurant likely will not be rebuilt.

“We would love to try and rebuild something, but re-creating the Woodshed would be nearly impossible,” said part-owner Scott Ouellette. “We may have a memorial to it somewhere.”

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant was once a 19th-century former farmhouse. It was converted to a restaurant about 40 years ago. Ouellette bought the restaurant a little more than a year ago with three partners.

The restaurant featured 40 years of collected memorabilia and photos of famous people, like actor Henry Fonda, who ate there. The restaurant building was valued at $401,500, according to town officials.

According to employees, the last person in the restaurant had left just before 9 p.m. The fire was reported just before 10 p.m., and by 11 p.m. the building was engulfed in flames.

Local and state fire investigators have completed most of the inspection at the site, but are still interviewing the 40 former Woodshed employees about what they saw.

No cause has been ruled out, according to fire investigator Bill Clark of the state Fire Marshal’s Office, not even arson.

“Nothing has been found as the cause, and nothing has been ruled out,” Clark said. “We are still interviewing people, and any one of those interviews could lead us to the cause.”

Because the cause of the fire is still unknown, the owners of the restaurant and their insurance companies haven’t made a final decision about rebuilding.

“We really can’t do anything now. Everything is pretty much on hold,” Ouellette said.

But Ouellette said rebuilding is unlikely.

“It’s an out-of-the-way site, and whatever you build there will be something else, not The Woodshed,” he said.

“I don’t think you can ever recreate The Woodshed,” Ouellette said.

dseufert@newstote.com



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