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Popular Baton Rouge eatery opens after arson

3 years ago March 22, 2012 Mar 22, 2012 Thursday, March 22 2012 Thursday, March 22, 2012 5:27:52 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- After a fire closed it down for months, a new and improved Mike Anderson's rose from the ashes and reopened today.

The Baton Rouge seafood staple held a soft opening for the lunch crowd.  It was almost gutted by a fire in December, and underwent extensive work during the restoration.

"Everything has been completely redone," said manager Dustin Loveless.  "Because of all the smoke damage we had to replace the wood with brick, but it looks great."

The ceilings are twice as high,the dining area is more spacious, and the bar has an elegant finish.

But despite the improvements, Mike Anderson tells News 2 he still can't forget the day his restaurant went up in smoke.

"I got the call at 3 oclock in the morning," he said.  "Me and my wife came out here and saw the fire trucks everywhere and I said ‘oh Lord, not again!'"

It was the fourth time the restaurant Anderson built almost 40 years ago caught fire. It burned for hours and caused more than half-million dollars in damage.  Surveillance video shows someone driving in the parking lot at the time of the fire, and investigators determined it was the work of arson.

Police said 51-year-old William Wise is a suspect in the fire, and is currently in jail in connection with a separate arson in 2008.  As of now, Wise hasn't been charged in connection with the Mike Anderson's fire.

Anderson says he'd like to know who did it someday, but that's the last thing on his mind right now.

"It's just really a good feeling to be open again," he said.  "Come on out and eat!"

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