CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Fire at a shopping center wreaked havoc on several Chesapeake businesses earlier this year.

You may remember the names affected on Battlefield, like Mister Jim’s, Court House Café, and others.

Some have been able to re-open, but Court House Café has a longer road ahead.

It was an overnight call Mark and Katie Hill didn’t think they’d get again.

“Our fire alarm went off right back here,” Mark Hill said. “Heavy smoke from the laundromat next door all through the ceiling.”

“It was just that same feeling that I had in 2008 when we pulled up, it was terrible,” Katie Hill said.

Court House Café has suffered three fires since opening in 1985, but two while Mark and Katie have owned it.

The most recent fire on Jan. 3, started next door at the laundromat, but seemed all too similar.

“Same thing in the middle of the night, 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” Mark Hill said, “singed our kitchen so fortunately we are not new to this, fortunately or unfortunately.”

He said when the two of them finally got inside, they didn’t think the damage was that bad.

“A lot of stuff just looked like a regular day of business because it was untouched other than soot on the table tops,” Mark Hill said. “It was an eerie feeling.”

Said his wife: “I thought we were going to open for lunch, 11 o’clock no problem. Then it got bad.”

Smoke had permeated through everything inside.

They opened 100 days after the first fire, but due to part shortages and other hiccups in the road, Mark Hill thinks it could take double the time for them to reopen this time around.

“Just everything takes a little bit longer now and everything costs twice as much as it did then,” he said.

And as the effort to re-open moves forward, the support from the community continues to grow.

“I’ve heard from every small business around offering every type of assistance,” Katie Hill said, “offering temporary jobs to employees. It’s just been really amazing.”

Katie said through fundraisers and a GoFundMe Page, they’ve been able to give their 35 employees money each month.

They say Court House Café means so much to them.

Mark Hill says Court House Café was actually his first job in high school.

He bussed tables at the restaurant in 1990, then he and Katie Hill bought it in 2007.

The restaurant is known for its prime rib, she crab soup, fried shrimp and other dishes.

They say customers have been driving by and peeking through the windows, hoping for the day they can get back in.

“We get all kinds of notes on our Facebook page and messages,” Mark Hill said, “all the words of encouragement and people excited about coming in and saying they’re rooting for us. “It’s really neat.”

Said Katie Hill: “That’s the only reason we are still doing this. I said, ‘I don’t think I could do this again,’ but because of all them, were gonna do it.”

They hope to be back open for business this summer.

Want to help?

If you’d like to support the the Court House Café employees displaced by the fire, click here.