HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — An iconic burger joint in Hampton is rising from the ashes after being closed for months following a fire earlier this year.
A ribbon cutting, cheers and applause greeted customers and fans in line for the planned reopening of Smitty’s Better Burger restaurant in Hampton Friday morning.
Thanksgiving leftovers could not halt the eager, hungry diners awaiting for the iconic restaurant to reopen after owners closed it in March following a morning fire that nearly destroyed the building.
“I hope they all appreciate it as much as I do,” said owner Paul Smith. “I sure do appreciate them waiting on me.”
Smith opened the business in 1956. He says he was inspired by a drive-in business that he went to in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Earlier this year, Smith told 10 On Your Side he was crushed after finding out about the fire.
“Makes you sick to look at it. Everything was going so good,” he said.
Today, Smith, his family, employees and customers were all smiles.
“It feels amazing. I kind of missed it. I will never take advantage of a job again for sure,” said Katie Gibson, who works at Smitty’s.
Gibson says many people asked her for months when they were opening back up.
“Everyone was always asking me when Smitty’s would be back. I said I didn’t know but eight months later, we’re finally back. It’s good to be back,” she said.
Smith says seeing the crowd and customers is a wonderful feeling and he knows his family will continue the legacy of the Hampton landmark.
“I was hoping I’d live long enough to see it. I got a good family and they all get along. So, I appreciate that. Hope they keep it up long after I’m gone,” he said.
If you’re planning on going back for those burgers and fries, Smitty’s will be open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:50 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. on Sundays. The restaurant is located at 1313 N. King Street in Hampton.